A TEENAGER stole the limelight at a hustings in Botley after he challenged a candidate's decision to vote against equal marriage.

First-time voter Guillaume Flavin brought in the biggest round of applause of the night after he questioned Nicola Blackwood's decision in 2013 to vote against same sex couples having the right to get married.

Ms Blackwood, the Conservative candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon in Thursday's General Election, told residents: "I had concerns about the legal implications of the bill and religious freedoms.

"In retrospect I regret that I did that, my fears were unfounded.

"It is important politicians admit when they get things wrong and I have learned from my mistake."

Ms Blackwood has been MP for the seat since 2010.

After the hustings the 18-year-old, who has just finished his A-Levels at Matthew Arnold School in Cumnor Hill, said he was pleased with the response.

He added: "It is more than what I was hoping for.

"It was a very nice answer, which gave me some closure.

Also addressing the crowd at St Peter and St Paul Church in West Way was Liberal Democrat candidate Layla Moran and on, behalf of Labour candidate Marie Tidball, Oxford city councillor Alex Hollingsworth.

Questions had been sent in ahead of the hustings by constituents and ranged from air quality to adult social care, grammar schools and homelessness.

An issue closer to home to arise during the question and answer session was the redevelopment of West Way shopping centre.

A concerned resident asked candidates what they would do for the current occupants in the centre to help them through the redevelopment.

Ms Moran said: "For me this all came home when Cafe Aloha all closed down over the weekend.

"That was an example of a great community place, where people regularly met.

"What concerns me is that we are already seeing an impact on local businesses but nothing has started, we do not even have a proper start date.

"When West Way first became an issue I came to the public meetings and if you were to make me your MP I would continue that and make sure that the shopkeepers and the developers are properly communicating."

Ms Blackwood said she did not want to see the 'mistakes' made following developments in Abingdon town centre to be repeated in Botley.

She added: "The biggest challenge we found in Abingdon was the poor communication between developers and local businesses.

"If you were to elect me I would try and make the case to improve the situation in Botley and put pressure on the developers to communicate with you."

As well as suggesting 'chaining yourself to the railings if necessary', Mr Hollingsworth said that the constituency's MP would need to support and advocate on behalf of the residents and business owners.

He added: "It is important that businesses already there are kept up to date with information.

"It is our job to inform, support and advocate the case of the shop keepers and restaurateurs."