THE four candidates for the Hexham constituency faced questions from a packed audience at a hustings event in Prudhoe’s St Mary Magdalene Church on Tuesday night.

But the NHS and Brexit were the stand-out topics of the night.

Conservative candidate Guy Opperman said the election was about democracy. He said: “I led the campaign to remain here. Both sides overspoke and over-promised.

“I don’t believe the referendum was decided on lies. I absolutely think we should see this through.”

The Green Party candidate, Nick Morphet, called for a second referendum. He said: “We need to have a public vote to put the question back to the people.

“It would be more than that. It would be a chance to decide between a specific deal and remaining.”

Labour’s Penny Grennan also called for a public vote. She said: “We will offer the choice between remain and a deal which will not financially crucify us.

“It was a non-party issue. You can’t translate a referendum into parliamentary system.”

But Stephen Howse said his party, the Liberal Democrats, wanted to cancel Brexit without a vote.

He said: “We want to see Brexit done through a democratic process, whether that’s us winning a majority or supporting a final say vote.

“We need to understand why the vote happened in the first place. People felt they had lost their voice.”

The candidates also faced a question from local GP Cath Fielder.

Dr Fielder said: “I’m deeply concerned about the public sector cuts. It’s at the point where I now have to ask patients in acute mental health crises if they can afford private therapy, because the alternative NHS services are on their knees.

“What would they realistically do about this if they were elected?”

Mr Howse said that people would have to pay a little more because of rising costs to the health service, while both Mr Morphet and Ms Grennan criticised privatisation in the health service. Ms Grennan said: “There’s no place for profit making in our health service.”

Mr Opperman disputed the fact that the health service was on its knees, arguing that NHS budgets had risen consistently. He added: “I dispute totally that there’s some grand plan to privatise the NHS.”