The Harrogate Advertiser is staging an open ‘hustings’ in Harrogate next Thursday as the general election campaign begins in earnest.
All five of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates will take to the stage for an open forum meeting at the Cedar Court Hotel. The evening will be chaired by the editor of the Harrogate Advertiser..
Venue: Cedar Court Hotel, Park Parade, off Knaresborough Road, Harrogate, HG1 5AH 01423 858 585
Date: Thursday April 9
Time: Doors open at 5.30pm.
The hustings begins at 6pm.
People will be admitted until the room is full.
Questions: If anyone cannot attend and would like to table a question in advance, please email email@example.com
Editor Jean MacQuarrie said: ”It is so important that people have the opportunity to ask their candidates the questions that really matter to them. They might want to know the candidates’ views on health, education or immigration. Closer to home, I suspect there will be some hot topics on planning, house prices and traffic flow.”
She added: “There are no rules to the evening, other than generally good conduct! Everyone is welcome to attend and quiz the candidates.
“I think it’s really important for local newspapers to help play a part in encouraging people to engage in politics, especially younger voters.
“Unlike national newspapers, the Harrogate Advertiser does not favour any political party. We are politically neutral, and report the election news without fear or favour.
“But it is really important we give a forum for debate, in our pages, on our website, and at meetings like this, so people can make an informed choice when they cast their vote.”
Harrogate Borough Council chief executive Wallace Sampson is the returning officer for the Harrogate and Knaresborough constituency. He oversees the count and delivers the result on the night.
He said: “It does feel like it is an exciting year because nationally it is very difficult to predict an outcome.”
The 2010 election saw Conservative Andrew Jones overturn the Lib Dems majority of 10,429 with a 9.1 per cent swing, but with a majority of 1,039, securing the narrowest victory in the history of the constituency.
Harrogate had a higher than UK average turnout of 71 per cent.
This trend is something Mr Sampson wants to see continue.
He said: “It is important for every resident to exercise their democratic right to vote, I would particularly encourage young people to ensure that they are registered to vote.”
Residents have until April 20 to ensure they are registered to vote, either online an www.gov.uk/register-to-vote or by calling Harrogate Council on 01423 500 600.
The candidates are Andrew Jones (Con), Helen Flynn (Lib Dem), David Simister (Ukip), Shan Oakes (Green Party) and Jan Williams (Labour) will all be quized at the Advertiser’s hustings.
What will sway your vote on May 7?
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