Edmund Potts will been included in a campus cross-party MP candidate debate after 122 students signed an open letter urging fairness from the organisers. The Left Unity and TUSC candidate called for support from students when he was not invited to attend the event.
In a statement released on Facebook at 4:30pm earlier today, the organisers explained:
‘When we organised the Candidate Question Time several months ago, we anticipated several more PPCs running than we currently have present in Exeter. With that in mind, we took the decision to limit attendance to the five largest national parties with parliamentary representation in England. Given that we expected eight or nine candidates, we hope you understand why we initially chose to limit the event in this way.
‘Having just six candidates on the ballot paper changes things enormously however. As you state in your letter, inviting the other five candidates and excluding Edmund Potts (representing TUSC) is unfair. As such, the organisers will be contacting him later today to formally invite him to participate in Friday’s Question Time.’
Organised by Politics Society and Debating Society, the debate will take place on Friday 20 March. Following the events of today, Edmund Potts will now join political representatives Ben Bradshaw (Labour), Keith Crawford (UKIP), Dom Morris (Conservative), Diana Moore (Green) and Joel Mason (Liberal Democrats).
The open letter states that the Left-Unity, Trade Unionists and Socialists candidate should be included so that “the students of the University [can] be given the chance to hear from every candidate standing in Exeter…so that they are equipped to make an informed choice at election time.”
Edmund Potts commented: “Students are part of the electorate, and it’s their right to hear a fair and democratic debate at which all viewpoints are represented. They can make up their own minds – it shouldn’t be up to any organisation to present an arbitrarily limited spectrum of opinions which they regard as acceptable.”
“I am the candidate who fought and demonstrated for free education 4 and a half years ago – and yet the organisers think students don’t need to hear our message?”
The open letter also calls for Exeter Socialist Students and the Freedom Society – the University’s two largest non-party political societies – to be included in the Political Societies Question Time, a separate event, which is happening on Thursday 19 March.
Societies who showed support include Exeter Socialist Students, Feminist Society, Freedom Society and Green Party Society.
Rachel Gelormini and Laura-Jane Tiley, Online News Editorsbookmark me