St Albans pupils fuel the political fires with debate MP Anne Main and her rival

STUDENTS at a St Albans college demonstrated their growing political engagement by taking part in a heated debate between Anne Main MP and her Lib Dem opponent in the last election, Sandy Walkington.

The two political figures debated the alternative voting system (AV) referendum to a full lecture hall at Oaklands’ City Campus before students and staff were invited to put questions to them.

Mrs Main argued that the AV system wasn’t fairer and illustrated how the process could hand power to the “least worst option” rather than the party which represented what the public wanted. She also pointed out that it would be a costly way to run the elections.

Mr Walkington sought to clarify how the voting system would work and explained to the students that it was the same system that they used when electing their own student council. He said that the current system meant that only around 30,000 people decided which government was in power and that all other votes were wasted.

Once the floor was opened to the students, questions poured in about the AV system as well as issues such as tuition fees and reducing the number of backbench MPs.

Octavia Conway-Keene, who is studying government and politics at the college, said: “The debate was thoroughly enjoyable as well as being very interesting. We were able to ask questions to the politicians including topics about tuition fees which was a highly engaging and controversial subject but argued very well by both Anne Main and Sandy Walkington.”

The event was organised by Oaklands College lecturer, Hans Svennevig.