THE climate crisis, Brexit and questions on the credibility of party leaders were discussed when two of Chippenham’s three parliamentary candidates faced the voting public in a hustings.

The town’s former MP Michelle Donelan was not at the debate on Monday night. A message read out before the debate said it was due to a prior engagement.

Liberal Democrat candidate Helen Belcher and Martha Anachury for Labour, fielded questions on a range of political topics at the event which was hosted by Make Votes Matter, a group that is pushing for proportional representation to be implemented in the House of Commons.

The debate was chaired by MVM worker Klina Jordan at the Neeld Hall, Chippenham.

In her opening statement Helen Belcher addressed the crowd saying: “The most pressing crisis we have at the moment is the climate crisis.

“The Lib Dems want to de-carbonate our fuel and plant 60 million trees a year.

“It has been remarkable how many people I’ve spoken to in Chippenham who are worried about a Boris Johnson government.”

Martha Anchury said: “Since moving to this country in 1985 I have worked in the public sector so have a lot of empathy for those who do the same.

“After so many years with a Conservative government we are in dire need of change.

“In general I love the countryside and want to help create a better environment to live in.”

One audience member asked both candidates to give their personal views on Brexit, regardless of party policies.

Ms Belcher said: “I would not be able to give five reasons why Brexit would benefit people, but I could give countless reasons why remaining would benefit us.”

Mrs Anachury said: “My personal view is that we need to stay in Europe.”

The candidates were also asked whether their party leaders were credible and would deliver on their respective manifestos.

Ms Belcher responded: “Jo Swinson is a formidable woman and believes we have learned as a party from our previous mistakes while in government. She is credible and absolutely believes what she says.”

Mrs Anachury said: “I one hundred per cent believe that Jeremy Corbyn is true to himself and his word. I would also add that I personally believe he is not anti-semitic.”

All three candidates are set to make an appearance at Wednesday's hustings at St Paul's Church Hall, Chippenham.

The debate will begin at 7pm.