The smaller and more recent political parties have criticized the university election debate organizers for omitting them.
The University of Sussex will conduct hustings for four of the political parties fielding candidates for Brighton and Hove City Council.
Now, only three of the four parties are represented in the city council, however there are seven independents.
Laura King, founder of Friends of Brighton and Hove, expressed disappointment that her organization would not be included despite being a registered party with the Election Commission.
Outrage over the exclusion of political parties from the next election discussion
The organizers are also eliminating the Trade Union Socialist Coalition (TUSC) and the Brighton and Hove Independents on the grounds that neither party received 3% of the vote in the 2019 municipal elections.
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According to the university, the event was smaller than the 2019 general election debates, which led to restrictions on candidate attendance.
Ms. King stated, “Despite all the rhetoric of democracy and dedication to equality, diversity, and inclusion, the decision has been made to deny Sussex students access to all local voting alternatives, including Independents, in May 2023.
“I also feel it is unacceptable that the manager in charge of political debates is a Labour councillor in another city, so how can the institution claim political neutrality?
Since then, I’ve learned that in many campuses, the student union organizes its own student debates, which sounds like a much more democratic practice.
“That is rather absurd, even if Sussex is responsible for its implementation. And understanding how important fairness is to the majority of kids.”
TUSC was founded in 2010 and ran candidates in the 2011 and 2015 council elections, as well as the 2021 by-election for Hollingdean and Stanmer.
Anger as political parties are barred from participating in the forthcoming election discussion
TUSC’s David Maples stated, “All democratic parties should have the opportunity to be heard. It should be the voters, not unanticipated persons, who choose where votes flow.
“We look forward to the opportunity to interact with all voters in the city, particularly university students.”
Like with past local elections, the University of Sussex will organize a hustings event on campus before to election day in collaboration with its students’ Politics Society.
“To ensure fairness and neutrality, and in keeping with previous election hustings, we and the Politics Society have followed the Electoral Commission’s non-selective hustings good practice recommendations and invited candidates from parties that received more than 3% of the vote in the 2019 local elections to participate.
We anticipate a spirited conversation in which a variety of perspectives may be expressed and explored.