|Honours Even in Chiswick Hustings|
Candidates for Brentford and Isleworth constituency debate
Despite the heavy rain, a large audience attended the hustings this Friday night at Christ Church on Turnham Green. The crowd was so numerous that the organisers were unable to give everyone admittance including reportedly one of the candidates for the Brentford and Isleworth seat.
The debate, which was chaired and organised by Matt Boyes, vicar of Christ Church and included just the candidates from the three main parties, Ann Keen, Mary Macleod and Andrew Dakers.
The questions covered a wide range of issues from expenses, on which Ann Keen offered an apology, to campaign donations, the NHS and fox hunting.
Ann Keen, with her experience of working at the Ministry for Health, seemed to get the better of the exchanges on the NHS with her command of detail showing up well against Conservative plans for a flat charge for the over 65s for care in old age. She was weaker on the third runway, faced with the almost impossible task of squaring personal opposition to airport expansion with having been the member of a Government that supports it. Mary Macleod scored points on this issue.
Andrew Dakers spoke far less than his Conservative and Labour opponents as they appeared to be targeting each other but he was generally felt to have come across well despite having fewer, or less vocal supporters, in the hall than the other two camps.
The candidates dodged the issue of coalition partnerships with Mary Macleod saying that she would tie up with the Greens and Ann Keen saying the only coalition she wanted to see was Old Labour and New Labour.
Matthew Akers said on the ChiswickW4.com forum, "I've seen Ann Keen speak and I was pretty impressed with her substance and knowledge of the issues. Andrew was obviously the most natural speaker and he did a very good job at articulating his answers. I thought all candidates did pretty well and were obviously passionate about what they were discussing."
Overall, all three candidates will probably feel the event went well for them. Mary Macleod coped well against two more experienced campaigners, Ann Keen braved a potentially hostile audience in a part of her constituency which is not the heartland of her support and came out smiling and Andrew Dakers can look to combine the nationwide growth in support for his party with the increase in his personal vote seen at the last election.
The constituency vote is going to be a three horse race.
May 1, 2010