King's Lynn students engage with General Election candidates at hustings
Encouraging young people to vote for the first time was the clear message as Lynn students hosted a General Election hustings event this week.
College of West Anglia students Ruby Platt and Savannah Ward invited candidates contesting the North West Norfolk constituency to answer questions at the Tennyson Avenue campus on Tuesday.
Labour’s Jo Rust, Rob Colwell of the Liberal Democrats and Michael de Whalley of the Green Party answered questions from the students which included minority communities, employment figures, Brexit and spending promises.
The debate took place only hours before the deadline for voter registration.
And students were encouraged to sign up at the hustings as Ipads were set up with the relevant page ready to use.
Miss Platt and Miss Ward said it was nice to see so many people turn up given it was relatively short notice.
Miss Platt said: “I am really politically active and went along to the Lynn News hustings event at London Road Methodist Church. I just thought why don’t we have one as well.
“A lot of the discussion at the moment is motivated by politics and it is nice to see people engaging and listening to other people’s opinions.
“For students that do not have a political background, it gives people opportunities to get involved with the massive issues at the moment.
“My family have been interested in politics for a long time and it affected me quite deeply. I care about my country and want to see my NHS protected.
"We don't want the young voice of state, the marginalised, to waste their vote because we don't care who they vote for, as long as they make an informed choice.”
Conservative candidate James Wild was unable to attend the hustings event due to other commitments, but Miss Ward said he had invited students to attend a hustings event at St Mary’s Church, Heacham next Tuesday, December 3.
Among the students staying afterwards to ask the candidates further questions was Zac Hunter.
He said: “It was interesting. It was sad the Tory could not come but I was unsure the others should be bashing him.”
Cameron Boughen said he was interested in how much funding will be available for further education and resources to help students in the future.
He added: “They all have very strong opinions and ways to improve. They all had good ideas but I do not think the fighting between the Parties will solve anything.”
Erica Richardson said: “It should be something we are taught as it is not just when we are older that we need to fully understand politics.”
Another student Emily Coyne said: “In a way politicians say what they think we want to hear. I do feel I know some bits about the manifestos but I need to look into it more.”
Mr de Whalley said it was really heartening to see so many students in attendance.
He added: “Young people need to be engaged as so much of their future is at stake.”
More by this authorBen Hardy