With the general election just round the corner, Strode’s College in Egham took this opportunity to run a hustings followed by their very our own mock general election. I was voted the clear winner beating Hammond.
This event was attend by the local parliamentary candidates from Runnymende and Spelthorne. I was there to represent the Labour party
the debate, was chaired by the College Principal, Anne Fielding Smith, and was attended by Philip Hammond (Conservative MP for Runnymede & Weybridge ), John Vincent (Liberal Democratic Candidate for Runnymede & Weybridge), Redvers Cunningham (UKIP candidate for Spelthorne) and Paul Jacobs (Green Party candidate for Spelthorne). for both constituencies.
Over 300 Strode’s students took part and voted for the candidate of their choice. Each Candidate was given four minutes to present a brief overview of their party’s plans to advance the interests of young people in the next parliament.
I gave a speech about my background, issues relating to young people and the importance of voting. Philip Hammond re-heated one of his foreign affairs speeches. Students were then given the opportunity to question and challenge the candidates, with the most popular topics focussed on rising university fees and cuts in funding for sixth form colleges.
At the end of the mock election the polling station opened and I was voted the clear winner with 33% of the vote. In joint second place came the Conservatives and Green Party candidates with 25% of the vote, followed by the Lib Dems with 10% and UKIP with 7%.
I would like praised the students for their passion in Politics and Current Affairs and to congratulate the staff of Strode's College for organising such a successful election hustings recently. I would also like to thank the Surrey Advertiser for their very balanced reporting on both this and the hustings at Sunrise in Virginia Water the week before.
For the majority of the students this is the first time that they will be eligible to vote in a General election
and this mock election truly encouraged them to engage in democracy. I am sure Philip Hammond and the minor party candidates would agree with me that these meetings are very important, especially in an election period. Young people, in particular those approaching their first vote are always interested to meet politicians face to face.
If there are other schools, colleges or any organisation in the constituency who would lik
e me to visit before 7 May (or after!), I would be delighted if they contacted me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org