Liberal Democrat Chris Bowers received the lion’s share of the vote in a mock election at Uckfield Community Technology College.
Chris last won an election at the college in 2010 and 2011 and this time scooped 39.3% of the votes.
In the last two years Davy Jones for the Green Party won the election but this year he was bumped into second place with 33.3% of the vote.
Next came Roy Galley for the Conservatives with 16.4% of the vote, then Labour with 7.5%, and UKIP with 3.3%.
Questions fielded by the politicians included whether there should be a second EU referendum, university costs and the amount of tax paid by large corporations compared with individuals.
On Brexit a summary of the debate, produced by the college, said three of the five candidates leaned more towards the ‘remain’ side.
Davy and Chris thought there should be a second referendum, while Angela said it was not too late to reverse Brexit.
Roy and Michael both were in favour of leaving the EU saying that would make the UK a ‘free country’.
A show of hands from among the 200+ audience showed a significant majority of students in favour of another vote, whether on the final Brexit deal or on a re-run of the 2016 vote.
About eight key questions were answered and discussed before sixth form students voted for the candidates in order of preference.
Chris Bowers was delighted to win and said it was brilliant that the college held a mock election each year.
He added: “It’s really important that people engage with politics, because without a vibrant political life, our democracy can’t be healthy, and that’s when we risk slipping to the extremes.”
He wanted the sixth form age group to challenge the established order saying that if teenagers and young adults didn’t stir up the grey-haired generations with new ideas he wasn’t sure who would.
He added: “Just by being in the hall the UCTC students payed a small part in nurturing democracy.
“I told them to remain critical, and to ask themselves whether a politician is taking them for a ride, or is being genuine, but I urged them never to lose faith in politics.”
One referendum question was presented to the candidates. That was: ‘Should the UK renew its Trident Nuclear Missiles Deterrent?’
Roy Galley said Trident was an ‘insurance policy’ for the UK and money spent on it was well spent.
Chris Bowers favoured reducing the programme rather than abolishing it. Michael Pursglove focused on lessons taught by history and said Trident shouldn’t be abolished.
Davy Jones said nuclear weapons were ‘destroying the world’ and Angela Smith said Trident was a ‘waste of money’ and was ‘purely immoral’.
The result of the referendum showed 49% wanting to abolish Tridents and 43% wanting to renew.
The mock election was organised by Dan Buschle and Dan Manville.
• A more detailed report of the mock election can be found here on the Uckfield Community Technology College website.
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