Sixth Formers question London Assembly Candidates
On Monday 25 April Cardinal Vaughan played host to a special hustings of first time voters ahead of the 2016 London elections.
Featuring the candidates for the West Central constituency, the event provided an opportunity for Sixth Formers to put their questions to those vying for their vote. The debate focussed on issues affecting young people, including concerns over knife crime and the cost of transport. The speakers on the panel were Tony Devenish (Conservative), Mandy Richards (Labour) Annabel Mullin (Liberal Democrat), Jennifer Nadel (Green Party) and Alex Nieora (UKIP). The audience was made up of Sixth Formers from across the constituency, including students from Sacred Heart and London Oratory.
One of the questions which caused the most debate was whether drugs should be legalised and if candidates agreed with the proposed banning of legal highs. Nadel for the Green party and Lib Dem Mullin both argued for legalisation and the creation of a controlled market. Conservative Devenish took a hardline approach against any relaxation of drug laws, whilst Nieora for UKIP seemed unsure of the official policy but was personally open to a changing of drug laws. Similarly Richards, the Labour candidate, thought a system like that in Amsterdam could be seen in London. Other points which the candidates clashed over included the Garden Bridge project and how to tackle rising house prices in the capital.
The event was chaired by 17-year-old Sixth Former Ben Farmer. He said: ‘It was great to hear a range of views from across the political spectrum, especially considering this was the only event where the candidates from all the main parties for the West Central seat were in one room together ahead of polling day. We had some challenging questions from the audience and, as Chair, I tried to put the candidates under some real pressure. The turnout was fantastic and just proves young people do care about politics and those after their vote.’