Candidates grilled by Jewish audience

THREE candidates fighting for Hampstead and Kilburn came under fire as the race heated up and tempers flared. Glenda Jackson MP, Liberal Democrat Ed Fordham and Conservative Chris Philp (pictured right, front to back) faced a grilling in West Hampstead –

THREE candidates fighting for Hampstead and Kilburn came under fire as the race heated up and tempers flared.

Glenda Jackson MP, Liberal Democrat Ed Fordham and Conservative Chris Philp (pictured right, front to back) faced a grilling in West Hampstead - quickly turning on each other and eventually, the audience.

The event organised by the Jewish Social Action Forum and the Jewish Community Centre for London, was always going to be a feisty one - touching on issues from anti-semitism to poverty, the environment to the Middle East.

Ms Jackson won early points by refusing to be drawn into the competition seeming to take place between Messrs Philp and Fordham over who had been to Israel most.


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When a member of the audience asked the tongue-in-cheek question of what they could do for the Jews, nods were only met by Ms Jackson's answer that "special treatment shouldn't be given on religious grounds".

The competition between Mr Fordham and Mr Philp remained remarkably fierce throughout.

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Mr Philp repeatedly said the Lib Dems couldn't win with Mr Fordham keen to argue otherwise.

The Conservative also looked to be in hot water when he admitted he didn't know of the dubious history of many members of his party's likely new grouping in the European Parliament.

And Mr Fordham was branded "naive, totally naive" when he outlined support for the Robin Hood Tax which would take 0.05 per cent from speculative banking transactions and said if some bankers go "they go".

Ms Jackson seemed to be headed for a quiet night until one audience member wouldn't let her wriggle away with her position against military intervention in Iran.

Repeatedly asked what would happen if the state got a nuclear weapon Ms Jackson evaded claiming she was an "optimist".

When a fellow audience member shook his head at the answer, the incumbent exploded - demanding to know whether they were a scientist and had all the facts.

With it likely to be nearly two months to the election things are already close to boiling point.

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