SUBU hosts first MP debate ahead of General Election

No ratings yet. Log in to rate.
Candidates Jon Nichols and Jess Toale MP Debate at SUBU

Bournemouth University hosted a debate between candidates competing to become an MP ahead of the next election in February.

Whilst the date for the next general election has not yet been confirmed, it will take place by the end of 2024.

Candidates from the Labour Party (Tom Hayes and Jessica Toale), the Liberal Democrats (Jeff Hanna and Jon Nicholas) and the Green Party (Darren Jones) were present.

The incumbent Conservative MPs, Conor Burns and Tobias Ellwood, were both invited to take part, but declined due to other commitments.

The candidates, competing to represent the Bournemouth East and Bournemouth West constituencies, discussed a variety of topics, ranging from the cost-of-living crisis to the Israel-Gaza conflict.




Labour candidate Tom Hayes stressed the scale of the challenge in repairing the economy. This sentiment was echoed by the other candidates with Liberal Democrat Jon Nicholas discussing how many people in the BCP area are having to use food banks. SUBU and Bournemouth University have set up a community kitchen to support students and staff who aren’t able to afford healthy, nutritious food. Darren Jones explained the Green Party policy of introducing a Universal Basic Income – guaranteed non-means tested regular cash payments to support general living.




Green Party candidate Darren Jones argued for massively increasing the amount of sustainable energy we use and that fossil fuels are not worth the cost of production and cost to the environment. The Liberal Democrats also want better capturing of renewable energy, as well as better insulation on homes. They added that a redistribution of wealth is the answer to solving the economic problems caused by the energy crisis. The Labour Party wants to reform the retail energy market, improve energy efficiency in homes, and change the control over the energy mix by producing more energy in the UK (e.g. offshore wind availability for Bournemouth). 




Jessica Toale, Labour candidate for Bournemouth East, advocated scrapping business rates and banning zero-hour contracts and fire and rehire practices. The Liberal Democrats said that taxes should be increased on property owners who keep buildings empty to provide an incentive to fill them and give councils the power to reduce business rates in the right areas. They also argued for affordable, clean, green transport to increase footfall in town centres. The Green Party candidate, Darren Jones, echoed this point and added that centres would be fuller if more people lived there. He also suggested that their Universal Basic Income policy would help people start up new businesses.


Israel-Gaza Conflict


The Liberal Democrats and Green Party agreed in support of an immediate ceasefire. The Labour candidate called for an enduring and sustainable ceasefire. All candidates urged the importance of diplomacy in resolving the conflict.




The candidates agreed that anyone who wants to come and contribute to the UK, through work or study, should be supported. Labour advocated a points-based system which is controlled but fair. The Green Party added that immigration is an important part of modern societies, and Liberal Democrat candidate Jon Nicholas suggested that internationalism is a core value of their party.


Health and Nutrition


Labour Party candidate Jessica Toale supported shifting the weight of the health system back towards primary care and preventative health measures (such as supervised toothbrushing in schools for 3-to-5-year-olds). The Liberal Democrat and Green candidates focused more on stricter rules on food packaging and nutrition education for children and young people.




Darren Jones, Green Party candidate for Bournemouth West, explained that they are focused on making everything sustainable and radically changing society in terms of transport and accessibility. The Liberal Democrats suggested that people are crying out for change that neither the Conservative nor Labour parties can offer - and that they are best placed to defeat the incumbents in Bournemouth following the BCP Council election results in 2023. Jessica Toale, the Labour candidate, disputed this, instead suggesting that the vote is a two-horse race between the Conservatives and Labour, given the previous general election outcomes.


Full details for candidates and how to vote can be found on the government website. Visit