CONTROVERSY has been triggered after two parliamentary candidates complained at being excluded from an election forum organised by a church group.
Only Labour’s Christine Russell, the Conservatives’ Stephen Mosley and the Lib Dem’s Lizzie Jewkes, were invited to last night’s event (Wednesday) at Queens Park High School.
Despite protests by the Green Party and UKIP organisers from Churches Together say the debate would have carried on “all night” if all seven candidates had been invited.
Green candidate Tom Barker said: “The Green Party are frequently excluded from political meetings and hustings events, and even more often portrayed as a single issue party, despite having well thought out policies on all topics. Where we are allowed to participate, Green policies are usually very well received by audiences, but this makes some people nervous, particularly those with a political axe to grind.”
Green Party supporters intended to leaflet guests as they arrived at the event to get over their message.
UK Independence Party candidate Allan Weddell said: “In spite of UKIP making political history last June by beating the governing Labour Party into third place in the European Elections, with the Lib Dems finishing fourth; only Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem candidates were invited to the event on Wednesday.”
Organiser Rev David Chesters said: “I took the view of Churches Together that if everybody had been invited we would have been there all night.”
Absent candidates’ details were due to be read out at the evening event. Other candidates are Ed Abrams, English Democrats and independent John Whittingham.