VIDEO: Lancaster candidates go head to head on election issues

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The candidates in the running to become the next MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood have clashed over the economy, NHS, immigration and local emergency services.

Our Great Debate - which we streamed live via our website this morning (April 23) - garnered a huge amount of interest online via our Twitter feed, blog and live video stream.

Mat Atkins (UKIP, Chris Coats (Green Party), Robin Long (Liberal Democrat), Cat Smith (Labour) and Eric Ollerenshaw (Conservative), debated questions posed by you - the electorate of Lancaster and Fleetwood - about what matters most in deciding who wins the next general election.

All the candidates were given a one minute introduction to set out their stall.

Matt Atkins said the 2015 election was “extremely important” with an “uncertain landscape”. He added: “We feel neglected here in the North West - the Conservatives and Labour have failed to deliver.”

Chris Coates said: “We face serious crisis in this country - economy, energy and environment are all serious issues.

The Great Debate with the Lancaster and Fleetwood General Election candidates'From left, Robin Long, Eric Ollerenshaw, Greg Lambert, Cat Smith, Chris Coates and Matthew Atkins

The Great Debate with the Lancaster and Fleetwood General Election candidates'From left, Robin Long, Eric Ollerenshaw, Greg Lambert, Cat Smith, Chris Coates and Matthew Atkins

“This economic crisis is not over. Don’t be fooled. We’re likely to see prices rise again.”

Robin Long said: “I want to fight for a free and equal society. We shouldn’t give in to strict ideologies. There is a common ground.”

Eric Ollerenshaw said: “(We’ve had the) biggest depression since the 1920s - yet we’ve come through it - difficult decisions have got our economy moving...

“The uni Science Park, railway network, M6 Link Road are all major investments locally. I want to stand up for this area in London.”

Cat Smith said: “These ‘difficult decisions’ have hit the poorest harder - tax breaks for rich are just unfair. There is a fairer way.

“People are very concerned about the NHS. Waiting times are up. We want to invest in the NHS and put you first.”

The debate covered topics including food banks, the benefits system, zero hours contracts, tax avoidance, immigration, the voting system, climate change, crime and policing, women in Parliament, the Scottish vote and funding for the NHS and GPs.

For further details on the contribution each of the candidates made during the two hour debate, visit our Twitter feed @guardiandigital, or our blog wwwlancasterguardian.co.uk/election-live.