… while three prospective MPs answer student questions
ALTHOUGH the political focus is very much on the general election, which will be upon us in less than 100 days, the starting pistol has been fired for those hoping to win a seat on Canterbury City Council. The Canterbury Conservatives became the first local party to announce their candidates for the city council.
Thanks to ward boundary changes made last yeai there will only be 39 counciilors representing the district, down from the current 50. The Tories have put up 29 candidates, including 14 sitting councillors, and 15 new candidates, including Louise Jones, the owner of the Chill nightclub, and John Brazier, the son of incumbent MP Julian Brazier.
The other political parties are expected to release their lists of candidates in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, three of the five men who will be challenging Mr Brazier for the parliamentary seat of Canterbury and Whitstable, took part in an online twitter hustings for the University of Kent, to lay out their views for the city’s young voters.
The Liberal Democrats’ James Flanagan (@jamescanterbury), Labour’s Hugh Lanning (@lanning4labour) and the Green Party’s Stuart Jeffery (@stuartjeffery) all took part in an online Q&A last Wednesday, with questions offered by the University of Kent union.
Some questions focused on issues facing students and young people, including “Do you think tuition fees should be reduced or abolished?”, “What does a new deal for the next generation look like?” and “Do you think unpaid internships should exist in the workplace and why?”.
Speaking to the Times, the Kent Union’s vice-president for welfare, Megan Wells, said the event had been a big success. She said:
“I feel students voices can be marginalised in politics, so it’s been great to see candidates pay attention to what we have to say. We’ll see hi May whether or not this leads to anything in the election.”
Miss Wells said the union had invited the candidates from all five major parties to the hustings, with the Conservatives’ incumbent Julian Brazier and Ukip’s Jim Gascoyne being unable to take part, due to neither man operating a Twitter account. But a representative from Ukip in Canterbury said they were “unaware of any invitation to participate in the event, and are sad to have missed the opportunity to take part”. Ukip also confirmed that Mr Gascoyne would be participating in an upcoming hustings at the University hosted by the Politics and Current Affairs Society on February 12.
• Ukip leader Nigel Farage will be in Herne Bay on Saturday morning to open an office in Herne Bay.
The opening is scheduied for 9am and Mr Farage will be in town to support Piers Wauchope, the party’s general election candidate in Thanet North. The new Herne Bay office is at 101 Mortnner Street.
Mr Farage is contesting the neighbouring seat of Thanet South in May’s election.
Herne Bay Times, 28th Jan 2015