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General Election 2019: North Norfolk candidates on Brexit, immigration and the environment

PUBLISHED: 08:35 28 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:16 28 November 2019

Candidates for North Norfolk in the 2019 General Election at a hustings at Stalham Baptist Church, from left, Emma Cortlett (Lab), Harry Gwynne (Brex), Duncan Baker (Con) and Karen Ward (Lib Dem). Picture: Stuart Anderson

Candidates for North Norfolk in the 2019 General Election at a hustings at Stalham Baptist Church, from left, Emma Cortlett (Lab), Harry Gwynne (Brex), Duncan Baker (Con) and Karen Ward (Lib Dem). Picture: Stuart Anderson

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Brexit was among the most hotly-contested issues at a general election hustings event for North Norfolk.

Karen Ward, the Liberal Democrat candidate for North Norfolk in the 2019 General Election at a hustings at Stalham Baptist Church. Picture: Stuart AndersonKaren Ward, the Liberal Democrat candidate for North Norfolk in the 2019 General Election at a hustings at Stalham Baptist Church. Picture: Stuart Anderson

At Stalham Baptist Church on Wednesday at the first four planned hustings for the seat, Harry Gwynne (Brex) and Duncan Baker (Con) insisted the 2016 referendum result must be honoured, while Emma Collet (Lab) and Karen Ward (Lib Dem) defended the voters' right to choose again.

Mrs Ward said Brexit had created: "A hostile environment for the staff that we need for our public services."

Mr Gwynne said Boris Johnson's deal should be rejected. He said: "We turned our backs on the world when we joined the EU. But all Brexits are not equal. Prime minister Boris [Johnson] has negotiated a deal, but if we go down that road there's really not much point."

Ms Cortlett said: "For me the red lines have to be peace in Northern Ireland, the protection of worker's rights and the protection of non-British citizens, because many of them have taxation without representation. More democracy can never be undemocratic."

Harry Gwynne, the Brexit Party candidate for North Norfolk in the 2019 General Election at a hustings at Stalham Baptist Church. Picture: Stuart AndersonHarry Gwynne, the Brexit Party candidate for North Norfolk in the 2019 General Election at a hustings at Stalham Baptist Church. Picture: Stuart Anderson

But Mr Baker said he backed Mr Johnson's deal.

He said: "If we get a Canada-style trade deal, that would be fantastic for the country. The prime minister was told the withdrawal agreement could not be reopened and the back-stop could not be removed. Then he went away and performed almost a miracle."

MORE: General Election 2019: Where can I see the North Norfolk candidates debate?

Other issues discussed included the environment, immigration and the NHS.

Duncan Baker, the Conservative candidate for North Norfolk in the 2019 General Election at a hustings at Stalham Baptist Church. Picture: Stuart AndersonDuncan Baker, the Conservative candidate for North Norfolk in the 2019 General Election at a hustings at Stalham Baptist Church. Picture: Stuart Anderson

Ms Cortlett praised young people who had been going on climate strikes, and said: "I would like to see net zero carbon by 2030. We absolutely cannot afford not to do it."

Ms Cortlett called on nurses' tuition fees to be scrapped so they did not have to work alongside their full-time studies.

On immigration, Mr Baker said: We should be a completely open country that cares about society. But I want to have a degree of control over immigration. Do you want to have Albanian gangs and things like that coming into our country?"

Mrs Ward rejected the idea of "splendid isolation" and said EU rules allowed for more control over immigration than many people realised. She said: "I know that it is of benefit to live in an multicultural society."

Emma Cortlett, Labour's candidate for North Norfolk in the 2019 General Election, speaks at a hustings at Stalham Baptist Church. Picture: Stuart AndersonEmma Cortlett, Labour's candidate for North Norfolk in the 2019 General Election, speaks at a hustings at Stalham Baptist Church. Picture: Stuart Anderson

On the environment, Mrs Ward added: "A harbour master said to me 'it doesn't matter if we're in Europe or out of Europe if we're all under water."

And Mr Gwynne said: "The Brexit Party has a £200m has a regional repair fund which would be spent outside of London on roads, on coastal defences, all of the money is there for that."

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