Cancelled Parliamentary Election Hustings evening – Sherington May 2010
  • Sherington Parish Council agreed to sponsor a General Election Hustings, as it has done for the two previous elections, Two basic assumptions were made – first that all candidates would be invited and secondly that the Village Hall would be available, as previously, on the Sunday evening prior to voting day. The principle of inviting all candidates was agreed prior to the actual list of candidates being finalised. There was no expectation that nine candidates would stand in Milton Keynes North. This in itself would have presented severe logistical difficulties in asking and receiving replies to questions within a reasonable time period.
  • Matters became more complex. The Village Hall was not made available to the Parish Council. The second choice venue was St Lauds. However, once it became clear that a BNP candidate was standing the Church decided that it could not support the event. The final venue was then the Pavilion in Perry Lane, a venue unsuited to this type of open public meeting. The candidates from the main political parties stated that they were unwilling to share a platform with the BNP candidate. This left the Parish Council seeking to sponsor an event where only candidates from the fringe parties would attend. The Council felt that this would have undermined the purpose and spirit of the whole event and attempted to withdraw invitations from the fringe party candidates. At this point the whole event was in danger of descending into disarray, with some candidates crying foul and involving the local media. It was at this point that the Parish Council decided to cancel the event, rather than risk unpleasantness and worse on the evening.
  • The Parish Council apologises for the fact that the Hustings was cancelled with limited notice but there was no other realistic course of action. The Council acted in good faith in trying to promote an open debate and free speech about election issues.
      Cllr David Keene – on behalf of Sherington Parish Council
2010 Election Hustings
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