Students Attend General Election Hustings

Brandon stands up to put his question to the panel

On Thursday, 28 November, students from RNC were invited to attend a General Election Hustings hosted by Hereford College of Arts (HCA).

Jesse Norman (Conservative), who has represented the Hereford and South Herefordshire parliamentary constituency since 2010, was on a panel with Anna Coda (Labour), Diana Toynbee (Green) and Phillip Howells (Liberal Democrat for North Herefordshire), who was standing in for Lucy Hurds.

On arrival, members of the audience were asked to write down their questions and hand them in. Questions were then drawn at random and for over an hour, and the panel faced tough questions on such subjects as immigration, taxation and electro magnetic radiation.

RNC student, Abdul, asked the panel what their plans were for university tuition fees and received varying responses. The Green candidate said they would make education free for all; the Labour candidate said they would abolish tuition fees; the Liberal Democrat representative referenced no specific policy but said they would put more money into education. The Conservative candidate said they would not abolish tuition fees.

RNC student Brandon gave an impassioned view of his experiences applying for Special Educational Needs (SEN) funding and asked what the parties would do about that.

Philip Howells, who is also a local councillor said, he saw first hand that Local Authority funding was not adequate for SEN and the Lib Dems wanted to see a focus on equality of education for all. The Labour and Green candidates agreed. Jesse Norman stated that an extra £750 million of national funding had been pledged for SEN by the Conservatives.

RNC student, Chris, asked what candidates would do to safeguard the NHS. Jesse Norman said it was nonsense that the NHS would be privatised by the Conservatives. This led to quite the debate amongst the candidates, with Anna Coda stating that the NHS was at risk and, in her view, was a more important topic than Brexit.

For most of the RNC students it was their first time at a hustings event but it was timely as some of them will be eligible to vote for the first time on 12 December.

We would like to thank HCA for the invitation to the event and also to the party candidates for taking part.


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