Parliamentary hopefuls answered questions from dozens of voters on topics ranging from immigration to housing to the coalition government.

Current Mitcham and Morden MP Siobhain McDonagh took to the panel alongside Conservative hopeful Paul Holmes and UKIP candidate Richard Hilton.

Wimbledon Times:

London Liberal Democrat vice chairman Anthony Fairclough stood in for colleague Diana Coman who was ill and the organisers said they had apologies from Green party candidate Mason Reading.

Dozens packed into Vestry Hall this afternoon to quiz candidates on their views on a range of issues.

The candidates were given five minutes at the beginning of the meeting to pitch to the audience, followed by a question and answer session.

Among the issues discussed, Paul Holmes, Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond’s parliamentary assistant, said: "I have a plan for Mitcham and Morden.

"Our town centres are being left and neglected.

"I want to see vibrant local high streets."

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Mr Fairclough stated Ms Coman has a background in working with local councils as a former Sutton Council cabinet member and she was born in Morden.

Ms McDonagh, who has been the MP since 1997, said: "I was born and bred in Mitcham and Morden, it is the only reason I go out every day - to do my best to make my community and my area a better place to live in."

Richard Hilton, a former Conservative councillor who defected to UKIP, said: "This is the most un-predictable election we have had.

"Locally we have seen a huge amount of activity regarding the council’s proposals to cut very deeply our local services, particularly around adult social care and Merton Adult Education."

All candidates agreed they would like to merge health care with adult and social care and see crime reduced in the area.

They also all agreed to stand up to Merton Council’s councillors and council officers if need be to get things done.

Converting empty office blocks into housing was discussed, as well as the importance of religious tolerance and immigration.

Mr Hilton said an Australian-inspired points system was needed to monitor skilled workers coming into the UK. He said: "We need to know how many people are coming into the country so we can have a long term plan."

The candidates are battling to be the next Mitcham and Morden MP at the election on May 7 this year.

Organised by the Merton Centre for Independent Living, Merton Seniors Forum, Merton Mencap and Age UK Merton, the event was chaired by Zara Todd from Inclusion London.

Wimbledon’s candidates will battle it out on April 9 at the Holy Trinity Church in The Broadway.