MAYBE it was the school surroundings or the gentle but firm hand of the clergy organisers but everyone was on their best behaviour on Tuesday evening when the General Election hustings came to Devizes.

There was no shouting, hardly any heckling and definitely no swearing as archdeacon Sue Groom and vicar Keith Brindle ran a very smooth operation at Devizes School.

The four candidates lined up on the stage with Labour’s Rachel Schneider Ross and Tory Danny Kruger on the archdeacon’s right and Lib Dem Jo Waltham and Green Emma Dawney to her left.

The evening started with the candidates introducing themselves and all were keen to spell out their local connections. This was easier for some than others.

Mr Kruger, who is Boris Johnson’s right hand man at Number 10, and whose selection to replace Claire Perry upset many in the constituency party including chairman Brigadier Peter Sharpe who resigned, was as pains to explain that his wife Emma had family living in the area and he had grown up on a farm in the not too distant Cotswolds.

Mr Kruger said: “I am not going to pretend I know the area as well as I would need to. I am here to listen.”

It was easier going for Labour’s Rachel, who is usually known as just Rachel Ross but has had to include her Swiss husband’s surname of Schneider to her publicity material as this was how Wiltshire Council named her on their election details.

She used his European heritage when the debate inevitably turned to Brexit but Mr Kruger could not resist reminding her that Switzerland is not of course part of the EU.

She has lived in the Pewsey Vale for 25 years and is involved with Devizes homeless charity Open Doors and campaigned to save the outdoor centres at Oxenwood and Braeside.

The Lib Dem’s Ms Waltham said she has lived in the area since 2013 with her husband and children and believed herself to be English, British and European.

Emma Dawnay chairman of Devizes Green Party spoke passionately about the need to stop climate change and was in her element during the first question of the evening which came from Devizes School sixth former Joe Brindle who asked where the parties stood on reaching net zero carbon emissions.

All the candidates agreed on the need for it to be a top priority but varied on the time frames with Greens saying 2030 and the Conservative 2050.

Mr Kruger took a bit of a battering over possible plans for the Conservatives to do a deal with the USA when talk turned to the NHS. But he did admit that more funding was needed. He said: “Another vision is needed. It is a huge challenge.”

Ms Waltham pointed out there was a lack of GPs and the merger of doctors’ surgeries in Marlborough and Pewsey was unacceptable.

All four candidates responded positively to a question about the possibility of a rail link on the outskirts of Devizes. Mr Kruger revealed that the only person he had spoken to who was against the idea of a parkway style station at Lydeway was a secretary at Devizes School.

Ms Schneider Ross said it was wrong that the 8.10am train from Pewsey to London had recently doubled in price.

She said the whole rail/bus network infrastructure in the area was not good enough.

Ms Waltham also pointed out there was no direct bus service from Devizes to Marlborough and Ms Dawnay agreed a station was needed.