I have accepted a challenge to debate my Green Party opponent in May's General Election, made in the Hexham Courant. This brings to 5 [along with Labour, liberal democrat and Ukip] the contenders in the Hexham constituency election, who will be debating in a series of debates in April.
I also should congratulate Lee Ferris on his selection a few weeks ago as the Green Candidate. At present, I am not aware of any other candidates or parties wishing to put in - last time we also had 2 Independents and 1 representative from the BNP.
I am a passionate believer in democracy and it seems perfectly fair to me that candidates should debate each other. I have signed up to 5 local hustings, with a farming one pending, and I expect to all the parties named to be invited. I would be more than happy to do a TV debate too and I have accepted their Green Party TV debate. I believe all parties should be represented in TV leaders debates. I don't see why I should be any different.
I watched the Sunday Politics in the NE 4 weeks ago and was interested that the BBC described a Green Party surge. I am not sure I'd describe it as surge, but even from my own canvassing in recent weeks and months there is no doubt there has been an increase in Green support.
The General Election is now just over 2 months away. I have been asked to post the dates of the hustings - see earlier blog posts. When they are all fixed I will do so, but there is a bit of logistics to sort first, so bear with me, not least as this is beyond my control, as churches and local community groups are doing the organising, and other candidates are having to jiggle their diaries around. In particular, the farming debate is proving very difficult to fix. There will definitely be hustings in all the major towns in April.
At present the intention is to have debates in Hexham on the 18/4, Prudhoe on the 20/4 and Ponteland on the 24/4 but the Church groups and Hexham Debates will notify in plenty of time.