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democracy discussions: general election 2019

A few of you may have noticed that a general election is taking place this Thursday, the 12th December. I’m writing to let you know some key bits of information for when the polling stations opening.

On the evening of the 21st November in Lecture Theatre 2, I hosted a hustings between three of the five candidates for Norwich South. Unfortunately the Liberal Democrat and Conservative candidates were unable to attend due to pre-existing commitments, however the following bios I received in the lead up to the hustings.

Brexit Party: Sandy Gilchrist was a remainer.  But he believes in democracy.  When the UK voted to leave, he accepted the vote.  Our MPs have failed us. Real direct democracy is needed.  Leading technology companies and an ex-senior civil servant in the Home Office and HMRC.

Green party candidate: Professor Catherine Rowett was elected as the Green MEP for the East of England last May. Her home and constituency office are in Norwich but she spends most weeks abroad in Brussels or Strasbourg. Before her election she was a professor at the UEA, and is the author of seven books and 50 articles on ancient philosophy.    

Labour party candidate: Clive Lewis was elected the Labour MP for Norwich South in May 2015.  Before entering Parliament Clive was Vice President of the National Union of Students, a BBC TV political reporter as well as Army reservist infantry officer, who served a combat tour of Afghanistan in 2009.  He has held a number of roles within the Shadow Cabinet.

Liberal Democrat party candidate: James Wright grew up and studied in Norwich, and following graduation has spent more than 20 years working in the IT industry, initially in London for the BBC, followed by a medical education company and then returning to Norwich to work at local schools. Since 2010 he has been a Norwich City councillor, and currently leads the Lib Dem Group on the council.

Conservative party candidate: Dr Mike Spencer- as a Consultant Psychiatrist with over 20 years’ experience, I understand the pressures facing our health service and I want to be at the forefront of the Government’s plans to improve it. We’re investing an extra £20bn into the NHS, but there’s so much more that can be done on the ground to ensure this money is spent appropriately and reaching patients - rather than being tied up in management. 

We discussed mental health in Norfolk and Suffolk, the future of higher education to Brexit. These are all key issues in the upcoming election. Thank you to all of you who attended and asked questions, it was a great event.

Make sure you get out and cast your vote on the 12th December! If you were not able to attend, have a look online and read up on the candidates in your area so you make the best decision that reflects your priorities. Additionally, remember, you are only allowed to vote at your assigned polling station. If you don’t know where this is have a look on wheredoivote.co.uk. If you live on campus your polling station will be in Union House and there will be lots of signage so you know where to go! Don’t forget to vote and make sure your voice is heard.

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