‘Bring it on!’ – candidates standing to be elected MP for South Holland and the Deepings are lining up for a public debate that will put them in the spotlight by you.
As Party leaders row over who might be “chickening out” of a TV debate ahead of the General Election, the Spalding Guardian can reveal a positive response from candidates to a hustings we are organising.
The Spalding Guardian Election 2015 debate will be held at the South Holland Centre in Spalding on Thursday, April 23.
All of the main political parties have been informed of the event, with “yeses” already from our current MP, Tory John Hayes, UKIP’s candidate David Parsons and Labour’s Matthew Mahabadi.
More than 300 free tickets will be issued, putting readers in the hot seat and giving them the opportunity to ask questions that will help them decide who will be our next MP.
Spalding Guardian editor Jeremy Ransome said: “This year’s election, both nationally and locally, looks to be the most exciting in years.
“There are many burning issues in south Lincolnshire and, as the local paper, we are delighted to give our readers the chance to debate them with those wishing to be their representative in parliament.”
Hustings have previously been held in South Holland at the time of a General Election by Churches Together in Spalding and District organisation.
However, a spokesman said that this year they were happy to give someone else the opportunity of organising the event.
Current MP John Hayes, who has held his seat in Parliament for South Holland and the Deepings, since the 1997 General Election, said he welcomes the opportunity to appear alongside the other candidates.
Mr Hayes said: “If the other candidates are up for it, I would be absolutely delighted to take part.
“This is very much in the spirit of previous General Elections.
“It is an important opportunity for people to have their say and I am always happy to speak about what I am passionate about.”
Newcomer UKIP’s David Parsons is also looking forward to answering the public’s questions.
He said: “I welcome the debate. It’s a pity the Prime Minister is chickening out on a national level.
“I will happily take on the other political parties in the district.”
Labour’s Matthew Mahabadi will also be a newcomer to the political stage in Spalding and is delighted to have the opportunity to meet the public and other candidates. He said: “This is brilliant.
“With the leader debates that are taking place on national issues, it is good that residents will get the opportunity to question candidates on local issues.
“It is also an ideal opportunity for the public to see candidates in the flesh. I think it will be great.”
Other candidates will be invited to join them for the hustings as they are announced.
Full details on how to apply for the free tickets will be announced at a later date, once the full line-up and final arrangements have been made.