A FORMER MP in Thornbury and Yate has defended his decision not to attend a public hustings event due to be held later this month. 

Conservative parliamentary candidate Luke Hall says he cannot attend the debate on 
Wednesday, June 26 at Chipping Sodbury Baptist Church.

All candidates standing have been invited to attend the event due to start at 7.30pm organised by Churches Together in Yate and Chipping Sodbury. 

The Gazette understands all candidates have pledged to attend - except Mr Hall who says he has a campaigning session on that evening.

Other candidates which are due to be present include Claire Young (Liberal Democrats), Rob Logan (Labour), Alexandra Jenner-Fust (Green), and Andy Banwell (Reform UK).

A hustings is a type of meeting where election candidates debate policies and answer questions from the audience. 

They provide voters with an opportunity to hear directly the views of candidates or the parties they represent. 

A new YouGov poll published last night suggests the Thornbury and Yate constituency is currently leaning towards the Liberal Democrats.

Gazette Series: Former MP Luke Hall (Conservative) says he cannot attend a public debate to be held later this month Former MP Luke Hall (Conservative) says he cannot attend a public debate to be held later this month (Image: UGC)

Mr Hall said: "I am fighting to protect our green spaces, deliver Thornbury Health Centre, put more police on our streets locally and further improve local transport. 

“I am spending every day between now and the election making that case on the doorsteps.

"If re-elected as our local MP, we can continue with the progress we are making together."

Tom Wharin from Chipping Sodbury Baptist Church is due to host the debate.

To ask a question, submit to yatequestiontime@gmail.com by Wednesday, June 19. 

Questions will be chosen by the organisers and questioners invited to ask their questions from the floor. 

Organisers say candidates will be made aware of the topics to be covered but not the specific questions.

Mr Wharin has previously run and chaired events in the Cotswold constituency for the last three general elections.

The format of the event is outlined below.

  • Welcome and introductions
  • A 2 minute presentation on why vote for (your party) locally
  • 5 or 6 questions from the floor with each candidate given the opportunity (by lot) for a first response and then all other candidates given the chance to counter.  Questions will be solicited from, submitted by and asked by the general public, but sorted into categories to give a breadth of subjects.  
  • A 2 minute presentation on why vote for (your party) nationally
  • Refreshments served with the opportunity for constituents to meet candidates 

Gazette Series: Churches Together