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With the General Election fast approaching, students of Portsmouth College welcomed guests from the five main parties across both Portsmouth north and south, to a live General Election Hustings Debate in the College’s Studio Theatre.

The event was organised by Government and Politics teacher Steve Fitzgerald, with the intent of getting students learning and talking about politics, as well as challenging themselves and one another in a controlled environment. Within the theatre, both first and second year students, all of whom were studying a range of subjects, took to their seats. Facing the panel of five local MP’s, in the ‘BBC Question Time’ style, staff and students were poised and ready to debate and discuss current issues relevant to them.

The panellists were as follows:

  • Penny Mordaunt MP (Conservative) - Portsmouth North
  • Stephen Morgan (Labour) - Portsmouth South
  • Gerald Vernon-Jackson (Liberal Democrat) - Portsmouth South
  • Ian McCullough (Green Party) - Portsmouth South
  • Kevan Chippindall-Higgin (UKIP) - Portsmouth South
  • David Carpenter (Portsmouth College Governor)

Steve Fitzgerald, who also chaired the event, said:
“I believe it is important that as a college we do all we can to enable our students to engage with politics and participate in the democratic process. They will have to live through the next 5 years of whichever government is elected and the consequences that will produce - they will be more directly affected by government than at any time in their lives so far. The hustings will enable students to meet with the candidates for both our local constituencies and to ask them questions that are relevant to them.”

Students, staff and governors who attended the event had the opportunity to listen to and debate with each of the panellists on topics that affect them, such as the voting age and privatisation of public services.

Current Government and Politics Student, Freya Woodhead, said:
“I'm really grateful that the candidates took time to talk to us about key issues and I found the debate really interesting.”

Dan Rhodes, also studying Government and Politics, adds:
“It was great to see such a good turnout of over 100 young people to the event. All of the panellists handled themselves really well and it was very informative and enjoyable!”


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