There was quite a flurry on-line following the hustings in Sidmouth:
The chair of the hustings has put together a report of the evening:
“It was an honour to chair the Hustings on behalf of the Vision Group, and I was delighted with the volume of questions that we received online and on the door.
The questions covered many of the topics of the day, lending themselves to being grouped together as ‘representative’ of areas for public concern. We opened with questions on General Politics, and candidates fielded questions on their experience of dealing with complex legislation, and their support for small local businesses. On Brexit, four of the five candidates on stage defended their ‘Remain’ stance and all gave their reasons for or against; the only candidate absent from the stage is now committed to supporting their party’s official ‘Leave’ policy.
Predictably, Climate Change was a hot topic, with questions ranging from whether the investment required to achieve carbon neutral status was justifiable, to the validity of the 2050 time scale and whether we were doing enough at this time. One Sidmouth resident approached me after the event closed and voiced his view that if everyone ‘pulled their weight and did what they could’ the cumulative impact would be significant.
Questions relating to Education and Health covered concerns including privatisation, particularly with contracts already in place, perceived underfunding and underinvestment and lack of resource. Candidates were asked how they would tackle these problems for the benefit of young and old alike.
On ‘Local Issues’ candidates were asked to confirm their stance on such issues as whether 5G should be rolled out in Devon, how one of the world’s richest countries could seemingly not act on the growing need for food banks, the hardship caused by Universal Credit, and levels of poverty. Questions were raised about Housing and whether the number of houses being built or planned in East Devon was based on exaggerated forecast demand, and how new–builds could do more to satisfy the demand for affordable homes.
Those attending agreed that they would stay on for an extra 15 minutes to allow more questions to be posed – a good sign I thought of the concerns that people wanted covered, and the quality of the candidates responses.
Our thanks to all those who attended for their time and courtesy shown by all.”
Chair, SIdmouth Hustings, of the Vision Group for Sidmouth
Meanwhile, following the announcement that one of the candidates could not attend:
… we are now able to reveal further information about the only candidate who was absent from the hustings.
Simon Jupp, the Conservative candidate for East Devon, was unable to attend the Sidmouth hustings on 6th December because his other commitments involved a ministerial visit – which meant a certain amount of discretion, as this could not be announced beforehand.
Mr Jupp was not only at both the Sidmouth and Budleigh Late Night Shopping events on Friday, but was joined by Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.