THE Wee County's General Election Hustings was livelier than expected at Alloa Town Hall last night.

The event – organised by Alloa Community Council – was held on Tuesday, November 26, and saw a strong turnout from the public.

Four of the five candidates for the Ochil and South Perthshire seat took part: Conservative's Luke Graham, the SNP's John Nicolson, Labour's Lorna Robertson, and the Lib Dems' Iliyan Stefanov.

UKIP candidate Stuart Martin was unable to attend.

Rev Jason Lingiah chaired the event, which started with each candidate delivering a three-minute pitch, setting out their stall to potential voters.

Then, the audience split into groups and questioned candidates one at a time – a format which one gentleman shouted was "non-democratic" at the beginning of the event.

Afterwards, candidates gave final speeches to bring the hustings to a close.

John Nicolson was first, and focused on the risks posed by Brexit and the Conservatives during his speech.

He said consumers were "worried about rising costs", and hospitals were "having to stockpile medicine" ahead of the UK's departure from the EU.

And he claimed Luke Graham had flip-flopped over his stance on Brexit, stating he used to say it would be a disaster, but now supported leaving the EU.

However, Nicolson's speech ended with an embarrassing gaffe in which he said: "Only the Scottish National Party can beat the Tories here in East Dunbartonshire."

The SNP candidate previously held the seat there, before it was regained by the Liberal Democrats' Jo Swinson.

Luke Graham was up next, and picked up on his opponent's constituency mix-up.

He then highlighted his record as an MP for the area, which included holding hundreds of surgeries and being "accessible and very transparent".

In closing, he said: "I want to sort Brexit, and I stand against another divisive independence referendum."

Iliyan Stefanov chose to concentrate on the need for civility during the election campaign – and, bizarrely, claimed he'd be prepared to lose to maintain a respectful debate.

He said: "I would want you all to support me and to give me your votes on [December] 12.

"[But] I don't want you to vote for me or support me if this is at the price of respect or tolerance."

Last up was Lorna Robertson, who highlighted her background as an NHS worker for 26 years.

She then said Labour's manifesto was "fairly moderate compared to our European counterparts," and spoke of the need to address cuts to council budgets and precarious working.

In closing, she claimed the NHS "will not survive another five years of Tory rule," and said: "Something radical has to change."

Candidates then toured the room taking questions from the public.

Mr Nicolson was immediately picked up on the fact he confused Ochil and South Perthshire with East Dunbartonshire.

In response, he said: "It was unfortunate, wasn't it?" And then said: "Which one of us hasn't made a mistake?"

When asked what issues he felt needed addressed in Clacks, he focused on Brexit, and said: "I went to see brewers in Alloa who have extreme worries about business uncertainty.

"Ten per cent of their business goes to the EU, and tariffs will have a huge effect on their ability to carry out business successfully."

He also spoke about the increase in foodbank use.

During Luke Graham's questioning, he was asked by a young girl about his views on lowering the voting age in elections.

He claimed he was in favour of doing so, but admitted having reservations about it in the past.

Boris Johnson and the lack of trust that accompanies him was also a key topic that came up.

One person asked: "How can anyone trust Boris?"

Luke said: "I've tried to judge Boris by his actions, rather than his character."

But later he claimed he meant to say caricature – not character.

As he toured the room, Luke was challenged – and sometimes shouted at – by some members of the public about his record as an MP.

But he stood by his two years in office.

Similar to Luke, Iliyan Stefanov was also quizzed on the competency of his party's leader.

One person asked him: "Jo Swinson – how can she be a leader?"

In response, he asked why the questioner thought Ms Swinson couldn't be one.

Mr Stefanov was also asked whether his party's stance on Brexit – namely, the policy to revoke article 50 and reverse Brexit – was disrespectful to Leave voters, and he maintained it wasn't.

And when asked what the main issues facing Clacks were, he said: "The division within the country, not just here."

Responding to the same question, Lorna Robertson identified the lack of well-paid jobs and demise of local high streets as key problems in the Wee County.

Moving to the subject of anti-Semitism, one person asked her: "Why has Jeremy Corbyn not banned people from the party when they've been anti-Semitic?"

In response, Lorna said: "He's personally not dealing with it; there's structures in place and it comes under the general secretary.

"They're suspending them or throwing them out."

After their tours of the room, each candidate reiterated their political positions during their closing speeches.

Rev Lingiah then thanked them for taking part, and the public for attending.