Students Quiz Election Candidates at Hustings

26.06.2024
Students Quiz Election Candidates at Hustings

Four of the parties running to represent the Weald of Kent constituency in the General Election on 4 July were quizzed by students at a General Election hustings at Benenden School on Monday evening.

Candidates or representatives from the Conservative, Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat parties took to the stage of the Centenary Hall for an event chaired by the School’s Head of Politics, Alastair Couldrey.  The Reform Party candidate sent his apologies.

Benenden’s Six One students (Year 12) were all in attendance, along with many Fifths (Year 10) and guests from Cornwallis Academy, who asked a variety of challenging questions regarding topics such as climate change, discrimination, immigration, economic growth, social housing, electoral reform and VAT on school fees.  Although there was some agreement at times between the parties, the event stimulated some lively debate and allowed the audience to understand the key differences between the parties.  Thankfully it was conducted in a far more polite and collaborative manner than some of the national debates we have seen during the campaign.

Afterwards, Mr Couldrey said: “It was fantastic to see students so engaged in Politics and asking such interested and well-informed questions; several of which surprised the candidates! It was great to hear heated political conversations continuing on the way back to boarding houses at the end of the evening. Many thanks to all the candidates for attending and we wish them the best of luck for the rest of the campaign.”

We would like to thank John Howson (Liberal Democrats), Katie Lam (Conservatives), Kate Walder (Green Party) and David Ward (Labour) for taking part in an enlightening discussion that showcased UK democracy.  We wish Daniel Kersten (Reform) a speedy recovery from injury.

The evening also gave Benenden’s mock election student candidates the chance to meet their real-life counterparts, and to discuss issues of common interest.

Benenden’s mock election will see all students cast their votes next Wednesday – one day before the country takes to the polls in reality – with the winner declared as soon as possible.

All five parties fielding a candidate in the Weald of Kent constituency are represented by Six One students and campaigning is well underway.