General election debates cancelled at last minute due to 'lack of interest' from voters

A ballot box being carried into an election count
-Credit: (Image: PA Wire/PA Images)

Two general election debates planned in Bristol were cancelled at the last minute due to a lack of interest from voters. The hustings were scheduled for the end of last week, giving locals the chance to quiz the candidates standing to represent their areas in parliament.

Hustings are usually held before elections, where members of the public can ask questions and hear directly from their candidates. But ahead of the general election on Thursday, July 4, organisers have struggled to get all the candidates to take part.

Two hustings were organised by the Totterdown Baptist Church, for Bristol South and Bristol East. These were both cancelled before they went ahead, after only few people expressed their interest in attending.

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Posting on social media, the organisers said: "There has been lower interest than we had hoped, and in addition our chair is now unwell. Pre-submitted questions will be sent to all of the candidates and if we receive a response we will pass their answers on."

The Bristol South hustings was scheduled for Friday, June 28, at the Totterdown Baptist Church. The Conservative candidate Liz Brennan said she was not attending, while the incumbent Labour candidate Karin Smyth did not respond to an invitation to attend.

The Bristol East hustings was scheduled for Thursday, June 27, also at the Totterdown Baptist Church. The organisers said they had not received responses to invitations from the Conservative candidate Dan Conaghan, the SDP candidate Clare Dunnage, nor the independent candidate Wael Mustapha Arafat.

Both Bristol South and Bristol East are Labour safe seats, and are unlikely to change hands in the general election. Hustings elsewhere in the city have been cancelled after candidates pulled out due to security concerns, while others went ahead with only two candidates and few people in the audience.