Husting Press Releases

Hustings Reflection: Sunday 8th December 2019

For the past few years as a church we have organised hustings for each of the various elections from local council and London Assembly to General Election. We have established rules (and had these checked by the Electoral Commission) for inviting candidates and how to manage when there are more than we could possibly squeeze into a debate or if any do not attend. Everything is prepared with careful attention so as to avoid bias towards or away from any candidate regardless of their political persuasion. This is part of our mission to actively engage with our local community, to provide space for debate, to hear the questions of local residents and the responses of those who wish to be elected to serve.

We aren’t a large church and we don’t have a pretty building but we are a church who care for our local community. We care about those who are running local shops and businesses, those who provide employment, the teachers and other staff educating our children, the doctors, nurses, dentists and others providing health care, the mechanics who maintain our cars and bikes in addition to the drivers of buses and taxis, the men and women who clean our streets and maintain roads and parks. We are grateful for our police officers and community support officers, the fire fighters, the paramedics, hairdressers, tattoo artists, the estate agents, bankers, librarians, funeral directors, the local charities, the volunteers in the foodbank as well as those who receive their services. Amongst all these members of our community there are those who are isolated and lonely, those struggling with addictions, suffering abuse, carers, people with health difficulties, debt and financial difficulties, unemployment, grief and vulnerability.

We organise election hustings because we want to support people in engaging with those who may have the opportunity to make significant decisions for our community. As a church we can only do so much, such as supporting the foodbank and providing occasional support. Our elected political representatives have the opportunity to make a significant impact for our society through the policies and laws they support and pass. Martin Luther King Jnr. taught “On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” Engaging in political debate and providing space for our wider community to question candidates is one way that as a small church we can hope to shape the road of life’s highway.

This past week it felt like the world’s press were at our doors (with cameras from BBC, Al Jazeera, and independent documentary makers as well as a variety of reporters and European news agencies) because one of the candidates in our constituency has a very high profile. That candidate didn’t turn up and the press coverage was ultimately minimal. I’m not interested in the press or the publicity for the church, I’m interested in our community. Proverbs 31:8-9 says “Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Whoever gets elected I hope they will care for our community for whom they are elected to serve. As a church we will work with them when we can but we will also speak out and challenge them, whatever their social status or public profile because that is our biblical imperative and Christian mission. If the candidates who couldn’t make it week still want to answer questions our door remains open and I am willing to meet them to ask the questions our community would like answered.

Rich Blake-Lobb
Pastor, Yiewsley Baptist Church


Press Release: Thursday 5th December 2019

We have limited space and our priority is for local constituents to engage with candidates. We have therefore agreed to have a small number of press places available and entry will only be permitted to those with a pass which have now been allocated. Al Jezeera will be providing the International Pool. We request that those who choose to report from outside of the venue respect our neighbours and those who are attending the event who may not wish to be filmed or interviewed.

The details for the event are as follows:

  • 6:30pm Doors Open
  • 6:50pm (approx.) Draw lots for any empty seats if necessary
  • 7:00pm Welcome & House Keeping
  • Opening Statements (2 min per candidate)
  • Question and Answers (The 5 candidates in the debate will each have an opportunity to answer every question, alternating who answers first).
  • 8:50pm (approx.) Closing Statements (1 min)
  • 9:00pm Finish

It is our custom to reserve seats in the debate for the most successful parties at the previous election. Should any of these parties candidates not be present and further candidates who are present will be welcome to draw lots for any empty seats. We therefore expect to have 5 candidates debating.

To date the responses from each of the five candidates who have a seat reserved are as follows:

  • Conservative Party Candidate: Boris Johnson (Invitation Declined)
  • Green Party Candidate: Mark Kier (Attendance Confirmed)
  • Labour Party Candidate: Ali Milani (Attendance Confirmed)
  • Liberal Democratic Party Candidate: Joanne Humphreys (Currently Unable to Attend)
  • UK Independence Party Candidate: Geoffrey Denis (Currently Unable to Attend)

We have made every effort to inform the additional 7 candidates (Count Binface, Lord Buckethead, Norma Burke, Bobby “Elmo” Smith, William Tobin, Alfie Utting and Yace “Interplanetary Time Lord” Yogenstein) of the event and will each have an opportunity to make a 2 minute statement if they are present. If any of the five candidates with reserved seats do not attend the seat will be given over to one of the 7 other candidates (drawing lots if necessary).

Information about the venue, directions, public transport and parking are available from the venue website.


Press Release: Saturday 23rd November 2019

UPDATE: REVISED DATE – THURSDAY 5TH DECEMBER 7PM

We have decided to move the date of our planned election hustings to Thursday 5th December, 7pm-9pm at Yiewsley Baptist Church.

The reason for the change of date is to avoid clashing with the planned television Prime Ministerial Debate on BBC One which will include Uxbridge and South Ruislip Candidates Boris Johnson. Despite being offered a selection of alternative dates Boris Johnson has written saying that owing to prior engagements he is sorry not to be able to join us at the event. Those candidates from the 5 leading parties at the previous general election who had previously confirmed attendance have now also confirmed that they will be available for the revised date of Thursday 5th December.

We know that plans can change and therefore we will be keeping open the seats for the candidates of the 5 leading parties at the previous general election (Conservative, Green, Labour, Lib Dem and UKIP) until the schedule start of the debate, as is our custom. Should any of these candidates not be present the seat will either remain empty or be taken up by one of the other seven candidates for the constituency (drawing lots if necessary).

We do wish all candidates the best with their campaigning and look forward to seeing them on 5th December.

All enquiries from candidates and/or media should be directed to info@yiewsleybaptistchurch.com | 01895 548004.

We are keen for local constituents to hear from candidates and therefore our priority is for local constituents to attend and hear from the local candidates. Our space is limited and we recognise that due to the high profile of particular candidates there will be wider interest. Please contact info@yiewsleybaptistchurch.com / 01895 548004 to discuss options for all press enquiries and passes.


Press Release: Friday 22nd November 2019

UPDATE: THE HUSTINGS HAS NOT BEEN CANCELLED.

A rumour is circulating that the hustings has been cancelled. This is not the case.
Since the dates for TV debates have been published we have identified that the hustings we are planning will clash with the BBC One Prime Ministerial Debate which will include Boris Johnson, one of the Uxbridge & South Ruislip candidates. We have not heard from Mr Johnson, his team or anyone from the Conservative Party yet want to provide every opportunity for local constituents to hear from the leading candidates. In order to ensure the BBC debate will not inhibit Mr Johnson from participating in the constituency hustings we are reviewing the date of our planned debate (most likely to a day earlier) and this will be confirmed by Saturday 23rd November. The hustings will definitely be going ahead whether or not Mr Johnson or any of the other candidates choose not to attend then our process for dealing with the ’empty chair’ are provided below.

During this review period ticket bookings have been paused and will reopen when the new date is confirmed.

All enquiries from candidates and/or media should be directed to info@yiewsleybaptistchurch.com | 01895 548004.


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