Labour and Greens criticise hustings no-show

Somerton & Frome is a large constituency. It is a lot of Somerset for candidates to travel to every corner to get their message across. Hustings play an important part in the electoral process, at a local level it is a rare opportunity to see local candidates debating the issues with each other. A lively hustings has already taken place in Frome.

However this morning the Labour and Green party candidates have issued a joint statement after three hustings have had to be cancelled. Martock and Curry Rivel hustings were cancelled after David Warburton, the Conservative candidate indicated he was unable to attend. Now a third at Castle Cary has been abandoned following the withdrawal of LibDem candidate Adam Boyden.

The statement from the Labour and Green Candidates notes “At the time of going to press, the organisers of Bruton hustings are still hoping for showings from both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat campaign teams, but will otherwise go ahead with candidates from the Labour Party, Sean Dromgoole; and the Green Party, Dr Andrea Dexter, preparing to answer questions directly from the voting public. This event will take place on 2nd Dec at 7.30pm, at The Chapel.”

Dr Dexter said she thought it was “important that all candidates would take part in this rare opportunity to be questioned by those whose interests they want to represent in Parliament” and she hoped they would “find a way to turn up”.

Sean Dromgoole, the Labour candidate added: “You might have thought that villages like Martock, Aller, Curry Rivel and the fine towns of Bruton and Castle Cary would have wanted to hear David’s government’s plans. Attempts were made to stage hustings in each of the above. Sadly David has found himself “too busy” for his constituents. I am also surprised at Lib Dem Adam Boyden’s decision.

Talking to The Leveller this lunchtime David Warburton responded “When the election was called and parliament dissolved, we immediately began to put together my schedule for visiting as many communities as possible across our 900 square mile constituency and meeting as many people as possible. In any campaign, it’s particularly vital to spend the very limited time with those who are as yet undecided as to who they’d like in 10 Downing Street, so I arranged innumerable campaign events, meetings and door-knocking sessions alongside many local people and volunteers.  Having spoken at seventeen hustings in the past four years, I very much recognise their value – so, in the limited time available, I’ve been delighted to be able to attend three more hustings over these final three weeks.   Like me, I’m sure the other candidates are getting out and about every day, talking on the doorstep and making their case.  I must say it’s a real pleasure to talk to so many local people and really get to understand what makes this such an important election for them – and for us all.”



    I am only aware of David doing two hustings in this election, Frome and last night in Baltonsborough. Where is the mysterious third? Has he now agreed to do Bruton? That would be terrific as otherwise none of his constituents in South Somerset will have had the opportunity to hear from his lips his governments plans.

    In the last election David only attended two hustings. Frome and Castle Cary. I was campaign director for David Oakensen in the previous campaign (2015) and I have no memory of there being 13 hustings in that election. My memory is that there were four or five.

    There is no obligation to do hustings. i understand Jacob Rees-Mogg has now withdrawn completely from them. But there is something fundamentally democratic about placing yourself in front of your constituents so that they may interrogate you about your own and your party’s plans for this country. Much has changed in politics in this digital age but being visible and accountable still have huge merit in my book.

    David, I know Frome was a bouncy ride, but I thought the exchanges last night in Baltonsborough were intelligent, civilised, considered and illuminating. The whole thing was immensely worthwhile for you as well as the audience there. I would urge you to come to Bruton on Monday for more of the same. If you do i for one will be delighted to see you.

  2. Andrea Dexter Reply

    I think the third hustings referred to by DJW is a closed hustings hosted by the National Farmers’ Union for members.
    A shame that being questioned on policies isn’t a priority for all candidates. He should be there to justify Govt plans for inaction on Climate Emergency- useless 2050 net zero carbon plans, and to defend his Party’s record in government of bringing the NHS to crisis, on the massive increase in poverty-14million people, on the defunding of schools, on the cuts to the police and probation service, on the overcrowding of our prisons, on the multiple injustices in a divided and fearful society . He should be there to tell us what a Conservative government would do to make amends for the political decision that was “austerity” and LibDem Adam Boyden should be there to reassure voters that his party will not meekly prop up another right wing Conservative government for five years and tell them why he claims to prioritise the climate emergency, when his party proposes an equally useless 2045 net zero-carbon target.

  3. cllrmichaelgay Reply

    It’s simple. Candidates who refuse to meet their electorate should stand down. No show candidates at Bruton Hustings clearly prefer cheap electioneering stunts or simply ignoring the Bruton voters, taking them as mugs. Don’t be cowardly, come and make your case not your excuses.

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