St Albans General Election candidates put in the spotlight for Cathedral hustings event

PUBLISHED: 17:00 30 November 2019

General Election hustings at St Albans Cathedral.

General Election hustings at St Albans Cathedral.

Archant

More than 600 members of the public gathered in St Albans Cathedral for the constituency’s first hustings ahead of December’s General Election.

General Election hustings at St Albans Cathedral. Tory candidate Anne Main.General Election hustings at St Albans Cathedral. Tory candidate Anne Main.

Monday's event was attended by all five competing candidates: Daisy Cooper (Liberal Democrats), Simon Grover (Green Party), Rebecca Lury (Labour), Anne Main (Conservative) and Jules Sherrington (independent).

The evening was chaired by Professor Quintin McKellar CBE, Vice Chancellor at the University of Hertfordshire, who presented the candidates with the public's questions.

In what proved to be a contentious but courteous debate, with candidates answering questions regarding Brexit, a second referendum, and whether the minimum voting age should be lowered to 16.

One member of the public pointed out that 63.7 per cent of the St Albans constituency had voted Remain in the Brexit referendum, then further questioned the candidates on their stance on a second people's vote.

General Election hustings at St Albans Cathedral. Green candidate Simon Grover.General Election hustings at St Albans Cathedral. Green candidate Simon Grover.

While the majority of candidates stated that a second people's vote would not be democratic, Daisy Cooper for the Liberal Democrats maintained it had been undemocratic not to publish impact assessments about Brexit's effect on society. This response garnered one of the loudest applauses throughout the evening.

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However, the most important issue for St Albans residents proved to be climate change, with over 50 per cent of the questions submitted to the hustings focusing on environmental issues.

Candidates agreed that extreme measures must be put in place to halt climate change.

General Election hustings at St Albans Cathedral.General Election hustings at St Albans Cathedral.

All strongly opposed the expansion of Luton Airport, in order to fight increased pollution and noise in the local area.

Professor McKellar said he believed the evening was a success: "It was inspiring to see so many people from across the local community attend this evening's hustings and take part in lively political debate.

"At the University we will also be encouraging our students to vote in the upcoming election in their registered constituency. "

The Rev'd Dr Kevin Walton, Canon Chancellor at St Albans Cathedral, added: "It was very encouraging to be able to host this event at St Albans Cathedral. The debate was lively but courteous. The audience engaged and informed.

General Election hustings at St Albans Cathedral - Lib Dem candidate Daisy Cooper.General Election hustings at St Albans Cathedral - Lib Dem candidate Daisy Cooper.

"Those who put themselves forward as candidates to serve the people of St Albans deserve our thanks and prayers."

If you missed the event, you can watch a video of the Hustings on the Herts Ad Facebook page.

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