"... the shortlisted candidates took part in a community challenge at a Burslem allotment as part of a week of activities set by Novus."
There's an idea. Perhaps we could bypass all the 'playground politics' currently going on among the by-election candidates, and just have a dig-off? Each candidate would be presented with a partly-frozen neglected allotment plot next Monday morning — and the one who has best dug it over, stripped out the couch grass roots, and planted some seed potatoes by sunset becomes our next MP. :)