Winchester Labour candidate launched a stinging attack on a rival party at a packed hustings attended by more than 300 people.

Patrick Davies accused the Liberal Democrats of repeatedly trying to hijack the credit for improvements.

“It is no just their alleged campaigns, putting round leaflets when they have nothing to do with the decision, claiming credit for other people's efforts.”

Mr Davies, a former Winchester city councillor, said it was started by the Liberals 30-40 years ago: “I would never have dreamed of claiming credit for things when I had nothing to do with the decision. I have never sought to deceive, I have been honest and open. I deeply resent people coming in an claiming credit.”

His Lib Dem rival Martin Tod had moments before said he had helped several successful campaigns including getting more ambulances for Hampshire, extra dentists and helping to save a bus service to Hyde.

It was the only sour note in an otherwise peaceful meeting full of consensus, organised by the Churches Together in Winchester at the United Church on Wednesday night.

Five of the six candidates attended - Steve Brine, Conservative; Martin Tod, Liberal Democrat; Mr Davies, and Mark Lancaster, English Democrat. The only absentee was Jocelyn Penn-Bull for UKIP.

The hustings was chaired by the Bishop of Winchester the Rt Rev Michael Scott-Joynt. Some 250 people packed the church with another 70 in an overspill room.

The candidates faced questions on the economy, trident nuclear missiles, climate change, fatherlessness, prisons, immigration, reform of parliament, among others.

On immigration, Mr Tod said whilst immigrants were coming in many Britons were heading abroad. Most of the eastern Europeans were aged 18-25 in work paying taxes and not a burden.

On the breakdown of families, Mr Brine said: “Good, stable families are the building blocks of good, stable societies.” He said it was untrue that the Tories would scrap the popular Sure Start centres, such as the one on Bereweeke Road, Weeke.

On Trident, Mr Davies said he went against his party to oppose the replacement. Mr Lancaster spending £100billion on a new system “was the economics of the madhouse.”