St Gabriel’s School was the host for a hustings event earlier this month as part of an initiative to encourage students to engage more with politics in their local area.
Incumbent Conservative MP Richard Benyon and the prospective parliamentary candidates Jonny Roberts for Labour, Liberal Democrats Judith Bunting and UKIP Catherine Anderson spoke to an audience of St Gabriel’s and Park House pupils on Friday March 13. They talked for one hour about their political beliefs and their plans for the future following the all-important May 7 General Election.
The single area in which the four candidates were in complete agreement was that young people must vote in May.
Richard Benyon said: “This election is more about the future of the young than anyone else.”
Judith Bunting also said: “You’ve got no right to complain if you don’t take part,” and Catherine Anderson added that “no vote is no democracy”.
The audience focused its questions on university tuition fees and student loans and one member of the assembly was particularly concerned about how rising university living costs might be putting young people off applying for courses.
At the end of the event Jonny Roberts thanked the school for providing the opportunity for parliamentary candidates to participate in an “informed and engaging debate”.
The tacher in charge of debating at St Gabriel’s, Emma Hammons, added: “It was wonderful for the students to experience politics first-hand.”