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Hertford & Stortford constituency hustings at St Mary’s Church, Ware

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Wednesday 7:00 pm 8:00 pm


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Teen Voice UK co-founder and Labour activist Josh Dean gives his impression of Saturday’s Hertford & Stortford constituency hustings at St Mary’s Church, Ware, which featured Green Party candidate Lucy Downes, Liberal Democrat Chris Lucas and Labour’s Chris Vince. The seat is also being contested by UKIP’s Alistair Lindsay, Conservative Julie Marson and Independent Brian Percival.

Organised by Damien Scully, with support from the campaign group We Are Hertford, people were given the opportunity to put questions to their candidates for the seat of Hertford and Stortford.

In attendance were Chris Vince for the Labour Party, Chris Lucas for the Liberal Democrats and Lucy Downes for the Green Party. Julie Marson, the Conservative party candidate, was unable to attend and declined an invitation to send a surrogate in her place.

Lib Dem Chris Lucas, Labour's Chris Vince and Green Lucy Downes (23807520)
Lib Dem Chris Lucas, Labour’s Chris Vince and Green Lucy Downes (23807520)

Chaired by teacher Nick Dennis, the hustings were characterised by a positive atmosphere and good-natured debate between the candidates.

At no point did the discussion devolve into loud disagreements, or heckles from the crowd, which certainly could not be said for the youth hustings held in Bishop’s Stortford last week.

Each of the candidates stuck closely to their manifesto promises but spoke with real passion for their communities.

Candidates 2019 Hertford & Stortford (23808623)
Candidates 2019 Hertford & Stortford (23808623)

Lucy Downes drew on her local knowledge, having grown up in the constituency, while both Chris Vince and Chris Lucas spoke about their experiences as teachers, particularly under the last few years of Tory rule.

While Brexit featured heavily in the debate, residents also posed questions to the candidates on issues such as education and tuition fees, the economy, the NHS and our voting system.

In a debate where each of the candidates sought to differentiate themselves from one another, it was striking just how much each agreed on. It was a reminder to many that there was more that united progressive parties than divided them.

All six candidates will be taking part in the hustings in Bishop’s Stortford on Tuesday (Dec 10) at the Baptist Church, Twyford Road, this time with Julie Marson in attendance.

There is no doubt that, with Conservatives in the room, the nature of the debate will be quite different. With just a few days to go until Thursday’s election, each candidate will be vying for every vote they can get.

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Hertford & Stortford constituency hustings at St Mary’s Church, Ware crew

Josh was born in Hertford and has grown up in East Herts. Active in the community, Josh writes a column every other week in the Hertfordshire Mercury, covering issues important to local people. In 2017, he co-founded Teen Voice UK, a non-profit organisation dedicated to empowering young people and making their voices heard. The organisation has campaigned on issues important to young people, including mental health awareness, reforming educational policy and youth homelessness. At East Herts Radio, Josh wants to use his show to talk a bit about the issues that are affecting local people, and to speak about the many interesting things happening across East Herts. He wants to make sure that members of the local community have plenty of opportunities to chat with him on the show, whether that’s in the studio or through our phone lines. He also wants to share the music he loves, and discuss different tracks with co-presenters and listeners alike. And, most importantly, he wants to know what our listeners want to hear - whether that’s a topic they want to be discussed or a song they want to be played.

Mickey Gocool is North London born and bred and now lives in Ware with his two children. Mickey is the Managing Director of East Herts Radio but sees his role as not just administrative, but very hands-on, with training Presenters and Staff, maintaining the sophisticated automated playout system as well as ensuring the studio hardware is optimally functioning.