THREE of Winchester’s General Election candidates went head to head at Monday night’s Climate Hustings.

Liberal Democrat Paula Ferguson, Labour’s George Baker, and Teresa Skelton of the Justice and Anti-Corruption Party attended the event which was organised by Winchester Climate Crisis Alliance.

The evening was introduced by Sir David King, climatologist and former scientific advisor to the government, who described climate change as “the most important issue on the planet”.

A mixture of questions, some prepared and others from the audience, were then put to the panel.

When asked how she would work on transport in Winchester to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, Lib Dem Paula Ferguson said: “We would add sustainable transport as part of the planning process.

“There isn’t any point in building new houses if the plans are not endorsing sustainable transport from the start.”

She also emphasised that “Brexit needs to be stopped”.

Ms Ferguson added: “Stop Brexit! Stop it, because in the EU we are part of a 28-country block which has a loud voice on the global stage. If we leave the Conservatives will rip up the existing environmental protections we have.”

George Baker said it is important to “nurture society into greener ways”.

He added: “We will give three per cent of the GDP to make green projects happen and we will reach net zero by the 2030s.

“The ‘green industrial revolution’ is the way forward. We must help jobs and businesses bring in the technology necessary for this, and make sure businesses are held accountable for how they deal with their carbon footprint.”

George also said that his party would ban fracking immediately and plan to build 9,000 wind turbines.

Justice and Anti-Corruption Party’s Teresa Skelton told the crowd: “Look, let’s be honest, my party is not going to be in Government.

“But we have to protect the right to protest. I don’t have to remind the Extinction Rebellion people what happened in London, when police made unlawful arrests over peaceful protests.

“You have to make your opinions on climate change known, because you can’t underestimate the power of people aiming to make mega bucks on green land in Hampshire.”

Conservative Steve Brine was unable to make the event due to his father being “desperately ill”.

He told the Chronicle: “I was really sad to miss this event, not least because David King was speaking and he’s a bit of a legend to be honest, hugely respected by many of us in Parliament.

“The environment is the issue which got me into politics in the first place and I’m immensely proud of the campaigns I have run and the speeches I have given in the House under my Green Winchester banner.

“I am sure the right approach is work with, not fight, the market to deliver two million new high quality jobs in clean growth. We are rightly ambitious.”

Andrew Wainwright, candidate for the Green Party who stood down for the Remain Alliance, did not attend despite the organisers saying he would.