Gazette to hold Islington Council election hustings at St Mary’s Church, Upper Street

The Islington Gazette is holding a local elections hustings at St Mary's Church in Upper Street. Pic

The Islington Gazette is holding a local elections hustings at St Mary's Church in Upper Street. Picture: Gordon Joly/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0 - Credit: Archant

The Islington Gazette will hold a hustings ahead of next month’s local elections.

It follows the huge success of this paper’s Islington South and Finsbury debate before last year’s general election – when 265 people turned up at St Mary’s Church in Upper Street.

The local elections hustings will take place at the same venue at 7pm on Monday, April 23. Again, it will be chaired by Gazette Editor Ramzy Alwakeel.

Like last year, we will be sourcing questions from Gazette readers and splitting them into different topics on the night. None of the candidates will get a preview. The four main parties have been invited to take part in the 90-minute debate.

Representing Labour will be incumbent council leader Richard Watts (Tollington). Caroline Russell (Highbury East), the sole opposition councillor since the 2014 elections, will represent the Greens.

Nick Wakeling will take part for the Liberal Democrats. He is not standing in this election, but was behind the party’s manifesto and is the next Islington North parliamentary candidate. Edward Waldegrave, standing in the Barnsbury ward, is representing the Conservatives.

Rev Simon Harvey, the St Mary’s vicar who has again been kind enough to give the Gazette his church for the night, said: “We’re delighted to be hosting this debate. In Islington we’re blessed with lots of people who want to make it a better place. We’re not short of comment and opinon, so let’s get the public discussion going.

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“Islington has a lot of opportunities, but also faces very big challenges, and it’s important the electorate can understand what’s being proposed by those seeking office.”

Rev Harvey also called on candidates to recreate the spirit shown by the general election candiates in last year’s hustings: “It was a very robust debate, but there was also courtesy and respect towards other people from different parts of the political spectrum. Maybe the church setting helped!”

St Mary’s boasts an excellent PA system and good lighting. It has a seated capacity of about 250, with standing room for 200 more.

What question do you want to put to the candidates? Email