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Croydon elections: how the candidates fared at the Advertiser's debate

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THE Advertiser's Croydon Decides debate this week gave the electorate the chance to grill those vying for their votes in this Thursday's local elections. A candidate from each of the five main parties in the borough was represented; current council leader Mike Fisher (Conservative) Tony Newman (Labour) John Jefkins (Lib Dem) Tracey Hague (Green) and Peter Staveley (Ukip). Read more about the debate here while below, here's a summary of how each candidate fared at the Fairfield Halls event...
Mike Fisher – ConservativeQuote of the debate: "If you want a council that delivers good services at an affordable price, there's only one party you can vote for."High: Put across his party's record with clarity and confidence. Low: Claimed no regeneration if council imposed 30 per cent affordable housing threshold. If Croydon is such an attractive place to do business, as he says, why allow developers to dictate terms? Verdict: Arguably the best "politician" on show, but opponents gave him too easy a ride at times.
Tony Newman – LabourQuote of the debate: "Labour, if elected, would freeze council tax and never allow any increases above inflation."High: [On addressing the fear of crime] "We must not let this myth grow [...] , which people use to attack Croydon, that we are some sort of crime capital of London. The statistics don't show that."Low: Agreeing with Tory rival over Westfield question, but failing to pull him up on election leaflets claiming Labour would "jeopardise" deal Verdict: This was a more considered Newman than seen in the council chamber, but will council tax promises come back to haunt him?
John Jefkins – Liberal DemocratsQuote of the debate: [Holding up a giant cheque for £271] "That's what you could have had if the council had bothered to collect tax properly." High: [On leading parties] "We need more scrutiny, more eyes watching these guys. At the moment there's too much Punch and Judy."Low: Made factual errors and relied too heavily on directing audience to policies on Lib Dem website. Verdict: The Lib Dems haven't had a councillor in Croydon since 2006, and this showing won't do a great deal to change that.
Tracey Hague – Green PartyQuote of the debate: "When will buildings demolished during riots be rebuilt? They are a scar on the face of the town reminding everyone [what happened] meaning those who suffered can't move on."High: Put across the green agenda confidently and coped well with her first major hustings. Low: Chose to focus on "fracking" in her closing statement, which is not a pressing issue in Croydon. Verdict: Every reason to be pleased, though some well-meaning policies lacked detail.
Peter Staveley – UkipQuote of the debate: "I think I have to echo quite a lot of what my colleagues have already said…"High: Stressed Ukip councillors would not have to vote on party line but "will listen to residents and businesses and vote accordingly". Low: Weak in a number of areas, including rebuilding London Road after riots, suggesting: "Some more community initiatives are needed to make things better."Verdict: Staveley believes Ukip has a chance to win a seat because of the concurrent European Parliament elections, which is lucky, because voters may not have been convinced by this performance.

Croydon elections: how the candidates fared at the Advertiser's debate


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