Disruption at election meeting [Audio]

Attendee challenging Hackney Hustings. Photo: Meng Yan Ren

At the North East Greater London Assembly hustings passions and arguments caused disruption and a temporary halt to the meeting. (Sunday April 29 2012)

A Hackney resident insisted on addressing the panel, expressed dissatisfaction with the BBC Question Time-style format, and said that he had never seen the candidates before.

Some members of the audience supported his complaints and subsequently left the meeting with him.

Opinion polls with three days of campaigning before polling day (May 3 2012) give a mixed picture of the race to City Hall. A Times newspaper Populus poll gives Boris Johnson a 12 point lead over his Labour rival Ken Livingstone. But a YouGov poll for the Evening Standard indicates a Boris Johnson lead of 4 per cent and a contrasting picture for the political parties in the Assembly election with Labour on 45%, the Conservatives on 32% and Lib Dems on 8%.

The meeting in Hackney suggested that it remains a lively campaign:

When answering the questions on tax, the Conservative candidate Naomi Newstead was interrupted again by the participant.

He asked why the independent candidates had not been invited, and the chair explained that only leading candidates who had the reasonable chance of winning had been asked to take part:

The protesting man who was interrupting the meeting was asked to leave and when he did the debate continued.

The invited candidates were Caroline Allen (Green Party), Farooq Qureshi (Liberal Democrat), Jennette Arnold (Labour) and Naomi Newstead (Conservative).

GLA Candidates at the Hackney Hustings. Photo: Men Yan Ren

Green Party candidate Caroline Allen said she and her party have a clear agenda for a more affordable, environmentally friendly, healthier and clearer London. She promised to make sure rents were affordable. She called for a complete change in policing policy.

Current GLA member, the Labour candidate Jennette Arnold, said if re- elected, she would support fare reductions for public transport and encourage more economic growth to support jobs and training. She will urge the mayor and Greater London Assembly to create a political culture in the capital that showed more respect the vulnerable people.

Conservative candidate Naomi Newstead said her priorities were affordable housing for families, addressing issues of road safety,  standing up for  independent shops and supporting the development of artists’ studios.

Liberal Democrat candidate Farooq Qureshi said he aimed to encourage central government to build more affordable houses. He wanted voters to be more involved in politics and decision-making by advising him on housing, travel and other issues.

London Assembly candidates face off on inequality in Tuesday’s EastLondonLines election debate




  1. JohnT May 1, 2012
  2. JohnT May 2, 2012

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