Thursday, 25 March 2010

Candidates debate about debates

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!


  1. Our meeting on April 7th 'Palestine Is Still The Issue' at Rivercourt Methodist Church is in fact a cross-party forum. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign is entirely non-party political and we have pressed Shaun Bailey to attend on that basis. He has now sadly declined though the invitation remains open and he has agreed to a private meeting at a later date to discuss the issue.
    Palestine has been at the forefront of the news in the last few weeks and it seems therefore perfectly reasonable to expect prospective party candidates to debate something that affects us all in the run up to an election. I would like to know what organization is 'impartial', everyone has some sort of an agenda but we are not expecting candidates to endorse everything or indeed anything we are advocating, we merely want people to stop and think about the issue and give an opinion. Prospective candidates should realize that being an MP does not just mean dealing with local issues, important though they undoubtedly are, but forming a whole view about how this country should behave as part of the international community.

  2. Bert Schouwenburg29 March 2010 at 12:48

    Shaun Bailey did not even have the courtesy to properly decline the local TUC's invitation to debate the issue of housing which is a major concern in this borough, preferring instead to let one of his aides promise us a reply that never came.

    Hammersmith and Fulham Trades Union Council is the representative organisation for the Borough's 14,000 trade unionists and as such could hardly be described as promoting "one view". Had he and the Leader of the Council, who also snubbed us, had the courage of their convictions and turned up, we would have guaranteed a properly chaired and strictly controlled meeting for them to air their views.

    Readers will make their own judgements as to why Andrew Slaughter MP and Leader of the Oppostion on the Council, Stephen Cowan, confirmed their attendance but Bailey and Greenhalgh would not.

  3. [...] 30, 2010 by chrisunderwood What looks like being the only other chance now to see the parliamentary candidates debate in the Battle of the Bush is on April 22nd at [...]