Page last updated at 14:20 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 15:20 UK

BBC WM hosts all-female debate in Redditch

Lorely Burt, left, Jacqui Smith and Margot James
Lorely Burt, left, Jacqui Smith and Margot James debate at NEW College

MPs' expenses, a hung parliament and healthcare were among issues discussed in an all-female debate organised by BBC WM in Redditch.

The panellists were Labour candidate Jacqui Smith, Stourbridge Tory candidate Margot James and Solihull Liberal Democrat candidate Lorely Burt.

Joining them at NEW College was vice-principal Tricia Burton.

The debate, hosted by WM presenter Joanne Malin, was watched by an all-female audience.

All three political candidates said they had enjoyed it.

Ms Smith, who is defending the marginal seat, said: "I think it demonstrated that women are interested in the whole range of issues.

"We had the young and the not so young and we had a really good debate."

'So important'

Ms James said: "It's said that the Conservative Party lost the last few elections because of the decline in the female vote, particularly women aged between 25 and 40.

"It's been imperative for us as a party to reconnect with women."

Mrs Burt, who is defending Solihull, added: "It's so important, I think, that women identify with the issues that are playing about the country at the moment.

"We've certainly seen that in the issues that have been raised today."

The candidates announced so far in the Redditch constituency are: UK Independence Party: Anne Davis; British National Party: Andy Ingram; Liberal Democrat: Nicholas Lane; Conservative: Karen Lumley; English Democrats: Vincent Schittone; Labour: Jacqui Smith; Independent: Paul Swansborough; Green: Kevin White.

The candidates announced so far in the Stourbridge constituency are: Liberal Democrat: Chris Bramall; Green: Will Duckworth; Conservative: Margot James; Labour: Lynda Waltho; UK Independence Party: Madeline Westrop.

The candidates announced so far in Solihull are: Liberal Democrat: Lorely Burt; UK Independence Party: John Ison; Labour: Sarah-Jayne Merrill; British National Party: Andrew Terry; Conservative: Maggie Throup.

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BBC WM Redditch debate
15 Apr 10 |  TV and Radio

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