An election debate featuring four Parliamentary candidates for the Banbury constituency was held at Sibford School on Friday (24 April).
The debate was organised by 18-year-old student Sebastian Graves-Read and was held in front of an audience of Sixth Form students.
“I think that a lot of people my age don’t really know much about politics,” said Sebastian. “It’s something that really interests me, as I hope, one day to go into politics, and so I emailed our Head of Sixth Form, Cate Mallalieu-Needle, and asked if I could organise a debate and she said ‘yes’.
“I contacted all of the six candidates for Banbury and four came back to say they would be able to attend. The other two said they were unable to join us, but I was delighted that they all took the trouble to reply.”
Taking part in the debate were: Roseanne Edwards (National Health Action Party), John Howson (Liberal Democrats), Victoria Prentis (Conservative Party) and Sean Woodcock (Labour Party). Dickie Bird (UKIP) and Ian Middleton (Green Party) were unable to attend.
The four candidates introduced themselves and their parties and then took questions from the floor which included: ‘Why should Young People Vote?’; ‘Do you think we should teach more politics in school?’; ‘Who wants a coalition with who?’ and ‘What is your stance on proportional representation?’.
“I think that currently there is a real disparity between young people and politicians which is why I was really keen to get this event off the ground and give the two sides the opportunity to engage with each other,” said Sebastian.
“Even though some of those in the audience are not old enough to vote in this election, it was good that they were able to hear what the different parties are about and to learn about their policies and their goals.”