“I am disappointed by the news that this evening’s Martock hustings have been cancelled, following David Warburton receiving orders from No.10 and the Conservative whips office against attending, and the pressure on national opposition parties to do the same.
Frome resident Jo Berry, whose dad, Conservative MP Sir Anthony Berry, was killed in the 1984 IRA bombing of the Grand Hotel Brighton, this morning rang Nicky Campbell’s BBC Radio 5Live phone-in, saying “At times like these, it is about ending the cycle of violence and revenge, it is about knowing that love is stronger – we must all breathe deeply ”
Jo now tours with Pat Magee – the man who planted that Brighton bomb – to help enable divided communities explore and better understand the roots of war, terrorism and violence, promoting dialogue and mediation as the means to peace.
British democracy at its best works though dialogue. Hustings celebrate this tradition. I therefore find this “suspension of campaigning” a worrying and opportunist move from Theresa May’s Conservative Party. There could be nothing MORE appropriate at a time like this than meeting in public to discuss our values and the direction that we need to take moving forward.
Politicians always say after a terror attack that we will not let it alter our democratic resolve or affect our free society because “that is exactly what they want”. By depriving opposition parties of a platform to debate the future direction of our country, the Conservative Party are furthering the ambush on British democracy begun with their surprise ‘snap’ General Election.
The supposed “suspension of campaigning” is not recognised by the overwhelmingly right-wing media continuing to display its pro-Conservative headlines, while Theresa May signals her alleged “Strength and Stability” by portraying herself as leading the militarized security response.
Opposition parties must not be silenced in the short campaigning time we have for this election. I for one will continue to stand up for British democracy and our free, tolerant society. The cancellation of this evening’s Martock hustings is both regrettable and inappropriate in the circumstances.
I wholeheartedly thank David Gent, the Vicar of Martock, for his efforts in organising what is still a very important part of our democratic process, and hope that we will be able to find an alternative date ahead of 8 June. I would be very keen to have another opportunity to speak and debate with David Warburton and the other candidates in Martock.”