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Political parties discuss key General Election issues at York College Hustings event

Education, immigration, transport, skills shortages and the Cost of Living Crisis were among the topics raised at York College’s General Election Hustings event.

Candidates from five different political parties, including the country’s biggest two Conservative and Labour, were given the opportunity to outline their viewpoints on such pressing issues in front of a large gathering of students in the college’s Atrium.

The Liberal Democrats, Greens and Yorkshire Party were also represented in the debate along with three Independent hopefuls, as each participant aimed to provide a persuasive argument as to why they deserved a cross next to their name on July 4.

Six of those present – Richard Hudson (Conservative), Roger James (Independent), Ruairi Kendall (Independent), Lars Kramm (Green), Alasdair Lord (Independent) and Alan Page (Liberal Democrat) – will be contesting the York Central seat, while the other two – Luke Charters (Labour) and David Eadington (Yorkshire Party) - will be standing for Outer York.

Reform UK were invited to participate but did not attend.

The Hustings lasted just over an hour with candidates answering questions supplied by students after delivering opening address to introduce themselves and their Election priorities.

Conservative candidate Richard Hudson
Labour candidate Luke Charters

Forthright views and carefully argued points were expressed throughout the debate that was hosted by York College & University Centre Principal and Chief Executive Ken Merry.

On the key subject of education, Mr Charters signalled Labour’s intention to provide every school with an on-site Mental Health Practitioner while increasing the number of qualified teachers.

Mr Hudson cited statistics that indicated Ofsted ratings had risen in York under the current Conservative Government and outlined his party’s commitment to curtailing university courses they believe don’t enhance employment prospects to reinvest that money into apprenticeships.

The Liberal Democrats’ Mr Page asserted the need to retain the services of teachers better by making the profession more attractive and raising salaries.

Mr Kramm, meanwhile, agreed that the Green Party would improve teaching wages whilst ending university tuition fees and added that he believed more money should be invested in the standard of educational buildings and infrastructure and that tuition should prepare students for life not just exams.

Under the Yorkshire Party, meanwhile, Mr Eadington stressed that he would look to introduce free bus and rail passes for all young people attending college, university or apprenticeships.


Independent candidate Mr Lord also spoke about his desire for tuition fees to be abolished and for reductions in teachers’ working hours and class sizes.

Mr James suggested that he would like students to be taught more about the Law and reiterated the need for more teachers in the profession.

Thanking all candidates for their attendance and contributions, Mr Merry said: “I was delighted with the cross-party representation at the York College General Election Hustings. It is vital that we ensure our young people are not forgotten in the General Election and being able to pose their questions to the people wanting to represent them is vital.

“The debate and discussion made it clear that whoever is elected to serve the communities of York Central or Outer York will be able to stand up for the needs of our local people. Our students are arguably the future professionals who will help support our country’s economy over the next 30 or 40 years, so their voices are important in this General Election.

“Giving them a platform where they can engage with people who should be listening to them is significant. Who knows, we may even have one of two future Members of Parliament in our student body.”