PARLIAMENTARY candidates battling to win votes in the Bolton West constituency took part in a lively hustings to debate their policies and priorities for the constituency.

All four of the candidates running in the constituency ­— Chris Green (Conservative), Julie Hilling (Labour), Rebecca Forrest (Lib Dems) and Paris Hayes (Green) ­— attended the event at St Peter’s Halliwell on Wednesday evening, which had been organised by churches in Halliwell and Heaton.

During the course of the spirited but well mannered discussions the candidates thrashed out their potions on subjects from transport and the economy to poverty and abortion and took questions from a packed out audience.

Ms Hilling said: “These events are so important to our democracy, and I’d like to thank all who attended.

“The audience was really receptive to Labour’s programme and rightly sceptical of Tory excuses.

“I had several good conversations with previously undecided voters afterwards who said they had been swayed to Labour by the arguments”.

Ms Forrest said: This hustings was a welcome opportunity to put across an overview of the Liberal Democrats’ policies to the local community.

“I received a warm reception from the audience and I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to engage in a more in depth policy discussion with the constituents.

“I believe several more will now consider voting Liberal Democrats, as many of their neighbours have already told me they are doing.”

Mr Hayes said he felt the hustings went well, adding: “It was extremely pleasant to experience sensible and democratic debate.

“I feel the Green Party message was received well ­— I believe I was the only candidate not to be shouted at or challenged by the audience.

“ I think the audience received me well and had time for what I had to say - they seemed open to the idea of voting Green at the next election.”

Mr Green was unavailable for comment.