9 December 2019
In a shocking move Sunday morning, Beaconsfield Conservative Party delivered to a local charity a letter that demanded a local hustings in Gerrards Cross be shut down.
The letter from Beaconsfield Tory HQ threatened the local Girl Guides Association with action through the Charity Commission if the local hustings went ahead. The local Tory candidate, Joy Morrisey had previously refused to attend the hustings and refused to submit a substitute spokesperson for the local hustings event.
Local hustings are a forum open to all candidates, or their substitutes, to debate one another during elections. The hustings in Gerrards Cross had been set up by local residents who were concerned that the local area was being ignored in the election debate.
Zoe Hatch (Green Candidate for Beaconsfield) said, "This is just another example of bullying behaviour by the Tory Party. On a national level, Boris Johnson won't submit to the same interviews and debates that every other national party leader has and locally their outfit are going around trying to dictate the nature of the debate.
"All of the rest of the candidates were happy to submit themselves to local questions and for us, there was no issue with who was organising the event – a debate is a debate and we had an excellent impartial moderator ready to referee proceedings."
However, candidates and public refused to be thwarted - Zoe Hatch, Alexa Collins and Dominic Grieve conducted their own ad-hoc hustings to meet and hear the views of residents in the Ethorpe Hotel, Gerrards Cross instead. Members of the public commented on how very glad they were to have the opportunity to cross-examine candidates in such a well mannered and respectful debate.
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