Students grill South Norfolk candidates

Students at an independent school staged a mock general election yesterday after grilling the main parliamentary candidates for South Norfolk on their party's policies.

Students at an independent school staged a mock general election yesterday after grilling the main parliamentary candidates for South Norfolk on their party's policies.

Five aspiring MPs were quizzed by children at Langley School, near Loddon, on issues such as the economy, the European Union, Trident, bankers' bonuses, and youth unemployment.

Pupils from the co-educational day and boarding school and guests from Norwich High School for Girls asked questions for almost two hours before casting their vote in an unofficial mock poll.

And the result was a landslide victory for Conservative candidate Richard Bacon, who is seeking re-election in the South Norfolk constituency on May 6.


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The pupils and sixth formers, some of whom are eligible to vote next week, gave 115 votes to Mr Bacon, 58 to Jacky Howe (Lib Dem), 40 to Evan Heasley (UKIP), 11 to Mick Castle (Labour), and 7 to Susan Curran (Green), who is standing for the Broadland constituency.

The election debate comes as Langley School prepares for its own internal election next week .

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Jack Wharton, 18, who grilled the Green representative on the party's proposals to close private schools, said: 'They were trying very hard to convince us, but I've already made up my mind after reading the manifestos online. The Green Party made me angry because they want to cut the armed forces and defence systems.'

Arthur Mason, 17, added that the debate made it more difficult to decide who to choose when he reaches voting age

'I think they are a little out of touch with some of us, but they did try to get across their views,' he said.

Teacher Steven Read said the school had been gripped by election fever.

'It has really come alive because everyone has realised there is an economic problem. There is a lot of excitement,' he said.

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