Politicians grilled at Question Time-style debate at a King’s Lynn sixth form

Students and politicians at Springwood sixth Form_Picture. Francesca Thornton

Students and politicians at Springwood sixth Form_Picture. Francesca Thornton - Credit: Archant

It had all the makings of a heated Question Time debate.

The only difference was instead of being presented by the formidable David Dimbleby, this political grilling was chaired by director of Springwood Sixth Form, in King's Lynn, George Pettitt.

In the firing line was West Norfolk cabinet member Alistair Beales, North-West Norfolk UKIP candidate Toby Coke, North-West Norfolk Green Party candidate Michael de Whalley, Richard Coward representing the Liberal Democrats and Jo Rust, secretary of the North West Norfolk constituency Labour party.

Mrs Rust celebrated an outstanding victory at the end of the debate, which heard questions and comments from geared-up students on a range of pressing issues, when 67 pupils voted in favour of her ideas.

In last place was Mr Coke with just six votes, in fourth place was Mr Coward with 18 votes, coming third was Mr de Whalley with 20 votes and in second place was Mr Beales with 34.

Sixth form director George Pettitt, who chaired the debate, said: 'Some of the opinions which were given seemed quite radical to the students but they need to be aware of all the views out there.

'They say they are not into politics but until they have experienced it, how do they know? That is why this is so important.'

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Mental health, tuition fees and the EU referendum were just some of the hot topics discussed.

On the matter of Brexit UKIP supporter Mr Coke said 'short answer is to vote out', arguing the country could run its own affairs, while his opponent Mrs Rust likened the European Union to the protection of a trade union.

Have you got a story about local politics? Email sophie.biddle@archant.co.uk

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