I applaud your editorial and article on the Free Speech Charter. One can only hope for the sake of Horsham residents that the selected Conservative candidate will follow the lead of the County Times and support the Free Speech Charter.
It will be interesting to see if the selected candidate is parachuted into a ‘safe seat’, or is one with local experience and knowledge. Whoever is selected, they will need to articulate how they will earn the right to represent Horsham, as will all the candidates standing, some of whom have already signed the Free Speech Charter.
What will be important is that the voters of Horsham are given as many opportunities to question all the candidates on public platforms and understand how committed they are to supporting the views of their electorate.
Communication cannot be left just to the abilities of major party machines with central funding to trump the independent candidates through political muscle alone. Every candidate needs to head equally in a true democracy.
With its leadership in free speech, readers would expect that the County Times would give all candidates equal space in print. However I hope that it will also strongly call for and support any opportunities to give the electorate the opportunity to question and debate with all the candidates together in open and independent meetings.
Finally, irrespective of party loyalty, it is right that the voters of Horsham respect the commitment to public service given by Francis Maude over many years to his Horsham constituency.
Chapel Road, Barns Green