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Stephen Gilbert meets Cornwall College Newquay students
Stephen Gilbert, the Liberal Democrat MP for Newquay and St Austell, was quizzed by students from Cornwall College Newquay recently on a number of topics close to their hearts.
Laura Turner, Student Services Officer at Cornwall College Newquay said: “The students involved in the debate with Stephen had clearly thought long and hard about which topics to discuss. These ranged from the national debt crisis and employment in Cornwall, to public transport access, housing and conservation issues. It was a very lively hour and a half and the students were really enthusiastic and asked some great questions.”
Student Paul Smith said: “Being an institute of biological science, it was inevitable that some probing questions about conservation issues would come up, and, apart from giving a pat on the back for arguing for the abolition of the battery farming of chickens, students raised a number of issues, including: the inadequacy of sustainable energy policy; the need to maintain and further develop agri-environment schemes and the decision to abandon plans for the expansion of the UK's Marine Protected Areas, which Stephen himself admitted, was against the sentiments of local fishermen who supported the plan because it would have guaranteed sustainable stocks.
“There was also some heated debate, particularly around the subjects of cuts to disability benefits and inequalities in the fallout from the failures of the financial system. I think the students involved really valued the opportunity to express their concerns and Stephen was very forthcoming and genuine.”
MP Stephen Gilbert commented: "It's been some time since I was a student at St Austell doing my own politics A-level and it was great to be back again at the College and to get the chance to speak to a new generation of students who are trying to understand how the political system works. There was a wide-range of questions covering everything from whether pint glasses should be made out of toughened glass to the sanctions that are being put on Iran. Many people think that young people aren't interested in politics but in my experience many are, they are particularly concerned with the consequences of climate change but are keen to make a difference across a whole range of issues."