Voters grill candidates at Harpenden EU Hustings

PUBLISHED: 12:16 21 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:16 21 May 2019

The EU election hustings in Harpenden. Picture: The Harpenden Society

The EU election hustings in Harpenden. Picture: The Harpenden Society

Archant

MEP candidates from across the political spectrum were grilled by voters at an EU election hustings in Harpenden.

The EU election hustings in Harpenden. Picture: The Harpenden SocietyThe EU election hustings in Harpenden. Picture: The Harpenden Society

More than 250 people packed into Harpenden Public Halls on May 14 to hear from all the people vying for the East of England constituency votes in the European Union election on May 23.

It was organised by The Harpenden Society and hosted by its chair, Phil Waters.

Parties represented included the Brexit Party, Change UK, the Conservatives, The English Democrats, the Green Party, Labour, and the Liberal Democrats.

They each had a chance to give a formal six minute presentation before the floor was opened up to questions.

The EU election hustings in Harpenden. Picture: The Harpenden SocietyThe EU election hustings in Harpenden. Picture: The Harpenden Society

Brexit related issues dominated the evening, but questions on voting age and climate change also featured.

Marketing manager at the society, Ron Taylor, said the event was one of very few EU hustings in the East of England.

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He said: "It shows how The Harpenden Society can engage with the local community and bring items and events of importance to their attention.

The EU election hustings in Harpenden. Picture: The Harpenden SocietyThe EU election hustings in Harpenden. Picture: The Harpenden Society

"I think it went above and beyond expectations, both with the level of attendees, the layouts and staging in the main hall, and how well the candidates behaved. They listened to each other and listened to what the audience said without interrupting or shouting."

He was also impressed by questions and participation from St George's School pupils in the audience.

Ron added: "The majority of questions concerned issues regarding Brexit and the party lines were fairly well known, but it was interesting just to hear the key lines reiterated and being put forward forcefully by both sides to give the audience a clear understanding of what they could vote for."

After the event, each political party had a chance to chat with visitors, display posters and hand out leaflets. Audience members also received individual A4 party manifestos which were placed on every seat in the auditorium.

Britain will take part in the EU elections on Thursday, despite being due to leave the trading group in October this year.

The exit was initially scheduled to take place in March, but a controversial few weeks in the lead-up saw Prime Minister Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement rejected multiple times by Parliament.

In light of the uncertainty, Mrs May asked EU leaders for an extension.

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