Eight Candidates debate at the Thanet South public hustings held on Friday 24 April at St George’s School

Eight of the eleven parliamentary candidates standing for the seat of Thanet South, attended the public hustings held at St George’s Church of England Foundation School in Broadstairs on Friday evening.

Organised by the Diocese of Canterbury, the event provided an opportunity for the public to quiz the candidates. Around 150 people attended the evening, many of whom submitted questions.

Conservative’s Craig Mackinlay, Labour’s Will Scobie, Liberal Democrat Russ Timpson and Green’s Ian Driver, were joined by independent candidates Nigel Askew (We are The Reality Party), Ruth Bailey of Manston Airport Independent Party, Grahame Birchall from the Party for United Thanet, and Zebadiah Abu-Obadiah of the Al Zebabist Nation of OOG.

After welcoming the audience and candidates, the chair of the meeting, Bishop of Dover, the Right ReverendTrevor Willmott, explained that all eleven candidates had been invited to the event, but that Nigel Farage (UKIP) and Al Murray (Free UK Party) both declined the invitation, due to ‘other commitments’. Dean McCastree (Independent) did not respond.

At the beginning of the evening, each candidate spent three minutes setting out why they should be elected. Afterwards, questions from the audience were asked about the economy, policies that helped young people, the housing crisis and ‘right to buy’ policy, and about the future of Manston Airport. At the end, parliamentary candidates had an opportunity to sum up how they would represent local people if elected.

Commenting after the event, Bishop Trevor said: “The hustings was well attended which showed the appetite local people have to find out more about their prospective candidates. I was disappointed that not candidates accepted the invitation to attend, but the eight candidates that did attend offered us some lively debate.”


Further information from: Emily Shepherd, Director of Communications, Canterbury Diocese 01227 459 401, 07876 210 446, eshepherd@diocant.org