Cirencester College students gave local politicians a tricky time this afternoon at our very own Political Hustings event ahead of the General Election on Thursday 12th December.
Held in the Sundial Theatre on campus, students grilled four parliamentary candidates for an hour about their manifestos along with issues the students themselves felt passionate about. In attendance was Sabrina Poole (Green Party Candidate), Alan Mackensie (Labour Candidate), Liz Webster (Liberal Democrat Candidate) and Richard Morgan (Leader of the Conservative Group for Cotswold District Council).
The event was chaired by English Lecturer John Pitt, who navigated students’ questions and helped steer the debate throughout. John took questions from students in the audience on a variety of themes they felt were important to them, and it was no surprise that Brexit was the topic of the first question, covering the complicated issue of a second referendum and the outcome of leaving the European Union.
Questions covering finances, tax, tuition fees and education followed, and each candidate was encouraged to answer the questions as efficiently as possible to allow time for debate. Surprisingly, there were a few topics that all four candidates agreed on; the importance of climate action, the need to teach LGBTQ+ issues in schools and also the legalisation of cannabis.
What caused a heated debate though was further discussion of Brexit and the future of the UK if we were to stay in the European Union without a second referendum. Another point that the candidates disagreed on was the suggestion of 16 and 17 year olds being given the right to vote. While Green, Labour and Liberal Democrats all agreed with the idea, Richard Morgan said the vote shouldn’t be allowed for younger people until the political climate has levelled out.
To finish, each candidate was allowed a short time to summarise why students at the College should vote for them in the upcoming election. John Pitt congratulated all of the students who contributed to the Hustings with thought-provoking questions.
The College would like to thank all participants for giving their time during such a busy period and making this a realistic event for students.