Politics- Councils and local authority bodies.

Democracy at work: Standing room only at Brent Central residents ‘Meet the Candidates’

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Brent Central’s ‘Meet the Candidates’ event at St Marks Church, 21st April. Photo credit: Katie Callin.

Reporting by Katie Callin and Emily Browne

Residents of Brent Central gathered at St Mark’s Church on the 21st April in order to meet the people in the running to be their next MP.

The event was organised by Kensal Green and Harlesden Residents’ Groups and attendance was high, with many having to stand to watch the action.

Photo credit: Emily Browne.

Photo credit: Emily Browne.

The event was an opportunity for residents of Brent Central to directly ask the candidates who wanted to represent their area about the issues that mattered most to them.

Answering questions from the audience were Kamran Malik (Communities United), Scott Bartle (Green Party), Stephen Priestley (UKIP), Alan Mendoza (Conservatives), Dawn Butler (Labour), Lauren Keith (Liberal Democrats) and John Boyle (TUSC).

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The speakers: Kamran Malik, Scott Bartle, Stephen Priestley, Alan Mendoza, Dawn Butler, Lauren Keith and John Boyle. Photo credit: Emily Browne.

The opening statements of all the candidates are available below.

Kamran Malik is the Communities United candidate:

Scott Bartle, Green Party candidate for Brent North, was standing in for Brent Central candidate Shahrar Ali.

In the 2010 election, the Green Party won 1.5% of the Brent Central vote:

UKIP candidate Stephen Priestley, who joined the party last July:

Conservative Party candidate, Dr. Alan Mendoza. The Conservatives won 11.2% of the votes in the 2010 election:

Dawn Butler, Labour Party candidate, who had been Labour MP for Brent South from 2005 to 2010.

After the boundary changes, she narrowly lost to Lib Dem candidate Sarah Teather for the Brent Central seat in 2010, gaining 41.2% of the vote:

Liberal Democrat candidate Lauren Keith, who was selected in late March after previous candidate Ibrahim Taguri quit amidst accusations he was accepting illegal donations.

Brent Central has been a Lib Dem seat since 2010 when Sarah Teather beat Dawn Butler by a small margin:

John Boyle, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate:

The seven party representatives answered questions from the audience, with housing and the NHS as the two subjects that residents were most keen for the candidates to discuss.

Scott Bartle, Green, on housing:

Alan Mendoza, Conservatives, on housing:

Dawn Butler, Labour, on housing:

John Boyle, TUSC, on NHS:

Dawn Butler, Labour, on NHS:

The current crisis in the Mediterranean concerning migrants and people fleeing dangerous areas was brought up by a resident who asked the candidates how they would help.

Lauren Keith, Lib Dem:

Stephen Priestley, UKIP:

Alan Mendoza, Conservatives:

Other issues raised by audience members included animal welfare, taxes and young families.

An 18 year old from a local sixth form asked the candidates what they were planning to do in order to help young people in the area.

Scott Bartle, Green:

Stephen Priestley, UKIP:

All seven of the candidates involved in the event received applause on at least one of the topics they spoke on, and the audience was extremely engaged with the discussion, often calling out in praise or disagreement.

It remains to be seen whether Brent Central will remain a Lib Dem seat following May 7th, but electoral predictions favour Labour candidate Dawn Butler as the successor to Sarah Teather.

Credit: electoralcalculus.co.uk.

Credit: electoralcalculus.co.uk.

Our previous posting on the background of Brent Central can be found here.

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