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22 April 2015

Parliamentry Hustings Cancelled

The Forest Hill Society and Sydenham Society had arranged a Parliamentary election hustings for Lewisham West and Penge on Friday 24th April. Unfortunately we have to announce the cancellation of this hustings. This is due to difficulty getting agreement from the candidates regarding who should be included and excluded from the panel.

Initially we had invited only the five candidates representing parties with more than 1% at the last general election to take part. We were pressured by a number of the candidates to extend this invitation to all candidates. Having done this, it then proved impossible to get all eight candidates to agree to attend the hustings due to the presence of a candidate from Liberty GB.

In addition we did not wish to place the local church and vicar in the situation of hosting and chairing an event with a speaker from a party that does not accept religious freedom.

We wish to apologise to all members of the public who were looking forward to attending the event.

Issued by Michael Abrahams, chair of the Forest Hill Society and Annabel McLaren, chair of the Sydenham Society.


Anonymous said...

It's a shame that the hustings has been cancelled. The local 38 degrees group has also organised a hustings with all candidates invited. This was to have been at St William of York parish room but the vicar cancelled because of the presence of the Liberty GB candidate. As an independent and impartial group we are not prepared to censor which candidates can and can't be heard so we have rebooked the hustings for Thursday 30th April at the Honor Oak Pub. Do come along to what may be the only chance in Lewisham to hear the candidates for Lewisham West & Penge. There is another hustings in Penge on Wednesday 29th.

Anonymous said...

I was going to come tonight. I agree the Liberty GB candidate should not have been invited. Electoral law allows for hustings to not invite all candidates based on reasonable justification. The original proposal with 5 candidates allowed for this and should have been kept to.

bob said...

Liberty GB have no place in a church, in our community or in a hustings. We should not be giving legitimacy and respectability to that hateful group.

Anonymous said...

Much as I dislike what Liberty GB stand for (putting it mildly), in the name of free speech they should not be banned from speaking. This only gives them a greater sense of self-importance. We should allow them to present their opinions (after all, we wouldn't like to be banned from giving OUR opinions)... and then we should vote according to our consciences.
I'm sorry this event was cancelled.

Anonymous said...

I'm also disappointed the hustings were cancelled. Please could FHS tell us which candidates refused to share a platform with which other ones (SE23.com suggests it was Tories/ Greens refusing to share with LibertyGB). Were all 8 invitees given the right of veto? Could we know the specific evidence that one party 'opposes religious freedom" as opposed to, say, holds some pretty unpalatable views. Thanks.

Joel Taylor said...

Having representatives of what some say are unpleasant organisations should not stop such hustings from taking place; it's either a democracy or it isn't. The idiocy of such candidates is normally vividly exposed in such a forum.

Paul Weston said...

Liberty GB is labelled an extremist party because we talk about Islam. We are particularly concerned about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East today, and fear for the future of Christian Britain as the Muslim demographic continues to grow here. I find it both astonishing and shocking that such a valid concern is deemed "hateful" and should therefore be removed from the democratic process - which is not very democratic let alone Christian!

Anonymous said...

Actually Paul, I think Liberty GB is labelled an extremist party because, amongst other things, you were arrested and bailed on suspicion of religious or racial harassment by the Met this time last year.

The fact that you were responsible for the alliance between your former party (the BFP) and the English Defence League; and later called for war between the white working class and immigrants, might also be called extremist.