Many of you commented that you would have attended this public debate between the four parliamentary candidates that took part in the discussion at Imperial College the other week. There really wasn't much publicity given to the debate beforehand.
Andy Slaughter MP, the Labour candidate, has just launched an attack on Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey for turning down, as he claims, the opportunity of having future such debates inside the constituency where local people can hear the candidates set out their plans for Hammersmith & Shepherd's Bush.
He charges Shaun with boycotting the opportunity to attend two similar debates inside the constituency which all other invited candidates had agreed to. Debates organised by the Hammersmith & Fulham Trades Council and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign have been turned down by the Conservatives. Andy says this:
"it is usual for a variety of organisations to host debates between the main candidates before the election. It is the only opportunity voters have to see candidates as they really are rather than as they present themselves through publicity and the media.
‘This is particularly important in the case of Bailey who is the most heavily promoted candidate ever in the UK, spending an estimated £200,000 last year, provided by investment bankers and other wealthy backers. But the more he spends on PR the less we know about him and what he thinks. People are asking who is the real Shaun Bailey and why is he not prepared to be questioned by the people he seeks to represents."
I checked with Shaun's office, and a spokesman appeared to confirm that they had indeed turned down these debates but he rubbished the idea that Shaun was unwilling to debate saying: "Shaun is happy to attend any hustings organised by impartial organisations who invite all of the Hammersmith & Shepherds Bush parliamentary candidates.".
He went on to point out that this evening "he will be with the other candidates for a roundtable discussion on a local radio station in Hammersmith. Shaun is also looking forward to the hustings planned for April 22nd at St Paul's Church."
Of the organisations whose debates he turned down the spokesman said: "Shaun has no interest in attending 'debates' organised by biased organisations whose very existence is to promote one view".
So all eyes on April 22nd at St Paul's Church then!