Candidates quizzed by first-time voting pupils

Guildford party candidates at Cranleigh School SUS-150428-100717001
Guildford party candidates at Cranleigh School SUS-150428-100717001

All eight of the candidates for Guildford in the forthcoming general election took part in Cranleigh School’s Hustings for Young People in an event specially organised by the History & Politics Department.

On Thursday April 23, Speech Hall was packed with fifth and sixth formers from Cranleigh and several other schools, many of whom will be voting for the first time next month.

The audience put forward an excellent set of questions on a range of subjects including: tuition fees, the budget deficit, the war on drugs, immigration and green belt development.

Candidates were put through their paces as each was given just one minute to answer each question in a debate that was expertly chaired by politics teacher Mr Rob Verdon.

“It was wonderful to see so many students talking so passionately about the political issues of the day. The students, from both state and independent schools, totally disproved the notion that young people are disengaged in politics. The School is extremely grateful to the candidates for their time and for making this possible,” said Mr Verdon.

Candidates represented all the parties and independents standing in Guildford: Kelly-Marie Blundell of the Liberal Democrats, John Morris of the Peace Party, John Pletts of the Green Party, Susan Parker of the Greenbelt Alliance, Richard Wilson of the Labour Party, Harry Aldridge of UKIP, Gerry Smyth of the Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol Party (CISTA) and the Rt Hon Anne Milton, who will be defending her seat in May.

While the speakers all posed a range of viewpoints on the major political issues, one thing they all agreed on was that young people should make sure they register their vote and use it. (Please note that registration for the next election is now closed)

The debate raged on Twitter with ongoing conversations between the audience and external participants and the living politics continued into the evening as Mr Martin Reader, Headmaster of Cranleigh School, chaired the Cranleigh Village Hustings, sponsored by Cranleigh Churches Together.

Report and pictures contributed by Cranleigh School.