Parliamentary Hustings fuel further passion for Politics

Parliamentary Hustings fuel further passion for Politics

On Tuesday 16th May, Head of Politics at Reigate College, Nick de Souza, hosted Parliamentary Hustings attended by all five parliamentary candidates for Reigate & Banstead and a packed house made up of both students and staff. Candidates included Crispin Blunt (Conservative), Toby Brampton (Labour), Anna Tarrant (Liberal Democrat), Jonathan Essex (Green Party) and Joseph Fox (UKIP).
 
 A Level Politics students asked questions about: School funding (Joseph Fearon), Tax and spending (Adam Mackenzie), Refugees (Isabel Woodcock), Legalising Marijuana (John Chalkey) and the Electoral System (Helen Sorrell).
 
Crispin Blunt defended the recent cuts to School funding by saying that budgets had been 'ring-fenced since 2010' and that all government departments had to take a hit to get spending under control. Tony Brampton's pledge to cut tuition fees under Labour was attacked by Anna Tarrant (Liberal Democrats) who said it wasn't realistic to offer free university places to the number of students who wanted them. Instead, she said the Lib Dems were pledging far more to the education pot generally. She also spoke about how the party was campaigning hard for a united Europe.
 
On the handling of the Syrian refugee crisis, Crispin Blunt said it costs 10 times more to bring a refugee back to the UK to look after them, than it does in a neighbouring country. Joseph Fox (UKIP) raised a few eyebrows when his response seemed to use 'refugee' and 'economic migrant' interchangeably, without any sense of differentiation. The Green Party's Jonathan Essex questioned why the government wasn't doing more to help refugees already in Europe. 
 
All candidates said they would support legalising cannabis, even Joseph Fox, which prompted a comment from Crispin Blunt about being an unusually liberal member of UKIP!
 
The smaller parties put forward ideas for proportional representation. Crispin Blunt defended the electoral system that points to a large Tory majority after 8th June.
 
If the College's Mock Election, held today, was anything to go by, Blunt's prediction would be sorely wrong, with students voting as follows:
 
 Labour Party 32%
 Conservative Party 24%
 Liberal Democrats 22.6%
 Green Party 14.6%
 UKIP 2.6%
 Spoilt ballots 4%
 
 All candidates urged students aged 18 or over to register to vote by 22nd May.
 
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