Vote Climate

Hustings report

Sarah Dines, the current Derbyshire Dales MP turned down our offer of hosting a climate focused hustings, instead suggesting we attend the hustings at Eyam Church, which I duly did last week.

With seven candidates (Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Green, True & Fair, Reform and an independent) answering questions, it was something of a marathon. Overall, it was disappointing in terms of meaningful discussion on climate related issues. The chair said that he had lined some climate related questions lined up but after two and a half hours he had not got to them by which time many of us had to leave.

Letter from Jon Pearce

However, we got some sense of where parties stood on some climate related issues from answers to other questions and from responses to climate related interventions from the floor.

There was a good turnout, of mostly older people. Questions covered lack of a decent bus service, availability of housing and jobs for local people, tax, including the pros and cons of a tourist tax cost of living issues, the NHS and why the government was penalising carers for minor errors with their benefits rather than focusing on the bigger harm of water companies discharging sewage into rivers.

Very little of substance in any of the answers to what would be done to improve the bus service apart from general agreement on £2 fares being a good thing and some parties prepared to look at the franchising system again. The Labour candidate’s answer to the question on cost of living and jobs related questions included his party’s commitments to bring energy prices down through cheaper renewable energy and the establishment of Great British Energy to accelerate this transition including new onshore wind generation, along with their warm homes plan to upgrade millions of houses.

The Reform candidate brought up net zero as a problem, attacking other parties for supporting it. However, later when someone asked if all new homes should be net zero, all the candidates, including the Reform candidate, said they should. The Labour candidate stated that this had been Gordon Brown’s policy back in 2016 and had to be reminded by the Conservative candidate that this was not in the current Labour manifesto. Apparently, no one has that commitment in their manifesto and the Labour candidate committed to changing this if Labour got into power, something he restated when I met him canvassing in Hathersage this week. So definitely something to hold him to account for if he becomes the next MP for Derbyshire Dales.

Since the hustings, the Reform candidate Edward Oakenfull has been deselected by the party due to offensive social media postings about people in Africa. Reform UK drops three candidates over offensive comments – BBC News His name will remain on the ballot paper as it is too late to remove it.

Sarah Roberts, HVCA Trustee

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