Events.     Spring and Summer

2019

 

CANDIDATES ON THE STAGE

Brexit – Paul Hearn

Change UK –  Emma Taylor who is top of the Change UK ticket.

Conservatives – Geoffrey Van Orden (existing Conservative MEP and top of the Conservative ticket)

 English Democrat – Charles Vickers who is second on the English Democrat ticket

 Greens - Gillian Mills, Coordinator of the St Albans District Green Party

 Labour – Alvin Shum

 Liberal Democrat -  Barbara Gibson who is top of the Lib Dem ticket

UKIP - Stuart Agnew MEP

Independent - Attilia Csordas

Euro candidates face lively Harpenden audience

An eager audience of over 250 would-be voters representing all shades of political opinion packed Harpenden’s Large Public Hall last week for a European Election hustings meeting organised by The Harpenden Society. On the platform, candidates from all of the main parties contesting the election for the Eastern Region EU constituency on May 23, as well as one independent, were introduced by Harpenden Society chairman Phil Waters, before they were given the chance to summarise their manifestoes, which were duly received mainly without too much audience interruption.


    But proceedings became more spirited as the politicians strove to answer questions from the floor. Inevitably, Brexit-related issues predominated, provoking alternate cheers and jeers from supporters in the hall. The UKIP party candidate Stuart Agnew (a sitting MEP) and his counterpart from the newly-created Brexit party, Paul Hearn, as well as Charles Vickers from the English Democrats, stridently demanded that ‘the wishes of the British people’, as expressed in the 2016 Referendum, for the UK to leave the European Union, must be respected.


    Broadly the same view was put forward, albeit less vociferously, by the Conservative candidate Geoffrey van Orden (also a sitting MEP).  Meanwhile his opposite number on the Labour side, Alvin Shum, held to his party’s somewhat equivocal Brexit position.


    Those on the platform wanting the UK to remain part of Europe, notably the LibDem candidate Barbara Gibson, as well as Gillian Mills representing the Green party and, with reservations, Emma Taylor, the candidate for the nascent Change UK, were listened to attentively, and with audible enthusiasm from a sizeable contingent of young people in the hall from St George’s School.  One of their number asked whether the voting age should be lowered from eighteen to sixteen, which drew a mixture of yeas and nays from the politicians on the platform. Society chairman Phil Waters asked the audience for a show of hands, resulting in a large majority in favour.


      In addition to the main event The Harpenden Society also facilitated space in the Hall foyer for each political party to chat with visitors and display posters and leaflets. They also collated individual party manifestos into A4 documents that were placed on every seat in the auditorium.


Party candidates thanked The Harpenden Society for their efforts in putting on such an important event.

WRITTEN BY ALAN BUNTING. Editor on The Harpenden Society Newsletter