A hard fought election campaign at Surrey Heath’s Gordon’s School has seen four of the area’s parliamentary candidates visit for lively discussion and debate.
Each Party standing in the Surrey constituency in this General Election, has been represented by students, who have been campaigning and are hoping to win on G-Election Day when the whole school community votes.
As part of the process, the secondary school welcomed Sharon Galliford of the Green Party; Brahma Mohanty, Labour; Alasdair Pinkerton, Liberal Democrats and the sitting Conservative MP Michael Gove. All visited the school, had lunch with the school’s student ‘party’candidates and spoke to students and staff as well as answering their questions. UKIP were also invited and it was hoped they would be able to take part.
During a grilling from students and staff, the candidates answered questions on a range of topics including arms sales to Saudi for use in Yemen; anti-sematism; education; the NHS; the closure of Sure Start centres and the increased use of foodbanks.
Sharon Galliford told of her journey into joining the Green Party and into representing them. She commented afterwards: “I really enjoyed meeting the students. They were well informed, open minded and curious, all good traits, particularly in politics.”
Labour’s Brahma Mohanty, taking part in his first election as a candidate, was quizzed over his party’s anti-sematism, Trident and whether independent schools should be abolished. He described the NHS as “The best gift given to the UK”. Commenting afterwards, he said: “I was very impressed by the level of questioning and insight and enthusiasm by the students….it was nice to hear a wide range of questions and engage in lively debate.”
Alasdair Pinkerton of the Liberal Democrats, told students that he had only joined the Liberal Democrats in August and was standing because he had become so disillusioned by what he had been seeing on our TV screens. He said: “…people feel neglected through the General Election process and were lied to in the Brexit process”.
The Surrey Heath resident, stressed his local connections and felt that residents had been “forgotten about” . He cited overdevelopment in the area and the failure of the infrastructure – schools, roads and doctors surgeries – to progress at the same rate as the housing. He was, he said, “a local voice defending our local area.”
The sitting Conservative MP Michael Gove defended his record while in education and the environment and answered questions relating to university study overseas; increases in the use of foodbanks and the closure of Sure Start centres. In thanking students afterwards for their “democrat engagement” he opined: “I loved your tough questions and I loved your passion and commitment to making our country a better place”.
On Thursday as the country votes, staff and students at Gordon’s will cast their own votes in the G-Election polls. Anna Hutchings, Head of PSHE and organiser of the G-Elections said: “Democracy is at the very heart of our country and a human right that we should never take for granted. The G-Election campaign has helped to make politics ‘fizz’ again and it’s wonderful to see so many staff and students engaging in political debate and ensuring their voice is heard. The Surrey Heath Parliamentary Candidates have also been a welcome addition and their hustings have certainly captured the attention of many here at Gordon’s School”.