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Southwell Minster host Newark constituency General Election debate, organised by Churches Together, featuring candidates from Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Reform UK, Independent, and Workers Party of Britain





Hundreds attended a heated hustings event where General Election candidates tried to persuade undecided voters to vote for them.

The debate at Southwell Minster, organised by Churches Together, was an opportunity for residents to question those in the running to become the next Newark MP in the election on July 4.

Candidates taking part include; Robert Jenrick, who is defending a majority of almost 22,000 for the Conservatives; Labour’s Saj Ahmad; the Independent Adrian Amer; Robert Hall-Palmer of Reform UK; Collan Siddique from the Workers Party of Britain; and the Liberal Democrat David Watts.

Southwell Minster hosted a hustings event for Newark General Election candidates.
Southwell Minster hosted a hustings event for Newark General Election candidates.

The Green Party candidate Michael Ackroyd was invited to take part, but was unable to attend for personal reasons.

Independent Lyn Galbraith and English Democrat Matthew Darrington did not take part as they submitted their candidate nomination papers after the debate had been organised.

The debate proved a heated affair as candidates spoke over each other and members of the audience repeatedly shouted out and interrupted candidates.

Speaking after the hustings, one resident told the Advertiser they felt “more confused about who to vote for now, than before the debate.”

The evening was chaired by former BBC presenter Quentin Rayner who attempted admirably to keep the hustings on track and challenged candidates on their answers if they got off topic.

Topics discussed included nationalisation of public services, the impacts of Brexit, support for social care, and housing.

However, one thing was made clear throughout the evening, that the public had lost trust and faith in politicians.

The Newark candidates who took part in the hustings at Southwell Minster.Southwell Minster hosted a hustings event for Newark General Election candidates. [From left] Adrian Amer (Independent); Robert Hall-Palmer (Reform UK); Saj Ahmad (Labour); Quentin Rainer (debate chairman); Robert Jenrick (Conservative); David Watts (Liberal Democrats); and Collan Siddique (Workers Party of Britain).
The Newark candidates who took part in the hustings at Southwell Minster.Southwell Minster hosted a hustings event for Newark General Election candidates. [From left] Adrian Amer (Independent); Robert Hall-Palmer (Reform UK); Saj Ahmad (Labour); Quentin Rainer (debate chairman); Robert Jenrick (Conservative); David Watts (Liberal Democrats); and Collan Siddique (Workers Party of Britain).

This was on the forefront of voters minds as candidates were asked by one residents how they would act with integrity and common sense on behalf of their constituents should they be elected.

Robert Jenrick said: “In the last government there was only one politician who resigned on principle and that was me.

“You can always be guaranteed with me that I will take a stand, I will stand up for the views of my constituents and the millions of people across the country that too often find their voices are not heard.

“I will fight tenaciously to achieve things and I think you will see from my record over the past ten years that I have always involved people from our own area.

“That’s what a member of parliament should do and something I hope to continue to do should I be re-elected.

Adrian Amer said: “I am committed to promoting ethics in politics, which has been sorely lacking since the beginning of this century.

“Each and every one of you have been let down by the last governments.

“If you elect me I will hold whoever is in government next to account, I will cross examine them to death, I will expect results.

“I will find out why they make the decision them do, instead of being condescending, patronising and mocking you.”

Reform’s Robert Palmer, said: “I think importantly, we are not in power, we haven’t been corrupted by power, we are the outsiders.

“Most of us standing have normal jobs and normal lives, but are looking to go into politics because we see it as fundamentally broken.

“Reform are fresh faces and that is what the Westminster bubble needs. It needs to be burst.”

The Liberal Democrat, David Watts, said: “Unlike other elections, this is the first one where we already know the result.

“We know that Labour will be forming the next government, so the big question for the people of Newark is who is best to represent you because what we decide here will not change the government.

“We stand for a fair deal. We stand for honesty, integrity and compassion. Those have been lacking in politics for far too long.

“I stand on my record as a councillor of 20 years, and my promise to you is that if I am your next MP I will not appear on the front cover of Private Eye.”

Collan Saddique, said: “We have a massive integrity gap in both Labour and the Conservatives.

“I’m new to politics, and I hope to make a difference.”

Finally Labour’s Saj Ahmad, said: “I am not a career politician, I’m not trying to become the next leader of my party.

“I came to politics quite late in life and came through the activism route, supporting members of the community whether is it women or the NHS — I believe we need more of that.

“I’m not looking to climb the slippery slope, I’m here to help people.

“My one regret is that I didn’t enter politics sooner.”

All candidates will have one more chance to debate and put their message across to voters in a hustings to be held in Newark this Thursday at the YMCA on Lord Hawk Way.

It has been organised by Newark Business Club.

The UK General Election is scheduled to take place on July 4.

The candidates confirmed for the Newark constituency are (listed alphabetically):

• Michael Ackroyd - Green Party

• Saj Ahmad - Labour

• Adrian Amer - Independent

• Matthew Darrington - English Democrats

• Lyn Galbraith - Independent

• Robert Jenrick - Conservative

• Robert Palmer - Reform UK

• Collan Siddique - Workers Party of Britain

• David Watts - Liberal Democrats



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