What happens when you put politicians in front of primary school children

As Tim Farron talked to students at Bath College in the crucial West Country seat, his colleague, Bath's Lib Dem candidate, was facing a much tougher grilling.

Wera Hobhouse sat alongside her rivals in front of 163 primary school children at St Swithin's Church, Bath, for a Year 5 and 6 hustings.

'My question is about foodbanks,' said Zac. 'Why are we using foodbanks when we are the sixth wealthiest country?'

A stinger.

Primary school pupils took part in a hustings in Bath.St Swithin's School Bath

'Because we are not paying people enough money.' The Greens' Eleanor Field got in there first.

'It's a scandal,' agreed Hobhouse.

Attention turned to sitting Conservative MP Ben Howlett who began to talk how he was involved helping in the city's foodbanks.

'Now you're not really answering the question, are you, Mr Howlett?' interjected Mrs East, head teacher of St Andrew's Church of England primary school, giving Julie Etchingham a lesson in moderating.

Scolded, Howlett admitted 'it is a massively complex issue'.

Labour's Joe Rayment impressed with his final summary. 'When Labour is in power things get better,' he told the schoolchildren.

'It was Labour that brought down child poverty,' he said before the excited children from three CofE primary schools across Bath trooped off to a ballot box to cast their vote.

Acting Returning Officer Rev Timothy Gleghorn, rose to announce the results moments later.

Hobhouse had failed to impress. Just 10 of the decidedly left-leaning nine and ten-year-olds backed the Lib Dem contender.

Even the Tories' Ben Howlett pipped her with 11 votes.

The Green's Eleanor Field had a strong 47 votes but Labour's Joe Rayment stormed to victory with 95.

Sadly for Labour, the result here on June 8 is unlikely to be the same. A key target seat for the Lib Dems with 61 per cent backing Remain in the referendum, Jeremy Corbyn's message is unlikely to cut through. It will be a tough head to head between the Conservative's and the Lib Dems.

For all the triviality of the primary school hustings, it was both entertaining and inciteful. The candidates were asked difficult questions on everything from the environment and poverty to education and Brexit. 

It exposed soundbites and highlighted who could communicate simply and effectively and who only operated with a Westminster-based outlook.

If Theresa May won't face Jeremy Corbyn in a television debate, a much sterner test could be to return to St Swithin's for round two.

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