Big is­sues aired at key hus­tings

Macclesfield Express - - ELECTIONS 2015 - KAREN BRIT­TON

ELEC­TORS were urged to make their vote count by a 300-year-old in­dus­tri­al­ist who came back from the dead for a dra­matic elec­tion de­bate.

Res­i­dents filled St Michael’s Church dur­ing the Trea­cle Mar­ket on Sun­day for a hus­tings with the five can­di­dates hop­ing to be­come Macclesfield’s next MP.

It com­pleted a busy week of hus­tings for the can­di­dates who had been part of events at Poyn­ton, Bolling­ton and an­other in Macclesfield. But there was an in­ter­est­ing el­e­ment to the Trea­cle event – with 300-year-old in­dus­tri­al­ist Charles Roe pre­sid­ing over the de­bate.

The man cred­ited with bring­ing the silk in­dus­try to Macclesfield – played by ac­tor David Wilkin­son – in­tro­duced the can­di­dates be­fore lead­ing them through ques­tions on the big is­sues.

It’s the 300th an­niver­sary of his birth on elec­tion day next Thurs­day, May 7, so hus­tings or­gan­is­ers de­cided he would bring an un­usual twist to the pro­ceed­ings.

He left the au­di­ence with a rous­ing call to vote in next week’s elec­tions, say­ing: “The only cer­tainty in this elec­tion is that cer­tainty is but an illusion un­less you make it so. “Speak and be heard.” Charles Roe read five pre-writ­ten ques­tions on town cen­tre re­de­vel­op­ment, the NHS, im­mi­gra­tion, vot­ing age and food banks and there were five ques­tions from the au­di­ence.

Or­gan­is­ers said the hus­tings was a great suc­cess and tweeted up­dates from the event. Jude D’Souza, who runs En­tropy Events, said: “As au­di­ence mem­bers en­tered, they were each given a to­ken and asked to place it in a la­belled jar that cor­re­sponded to their cur­rent vot­ing in­ten­tion.

“We did the same thing as peo­ple were ex­it­ing, to get a rough im­pres­sion of whether the can­di­dates changed any opin­ions.

“The re­sults were thor­oughly in­for­mal but do show some clear trends.”

Ear­lier in the week, for­mer BBC news­reader Peter Sis­sons over­saw a busy hus­tings in Bolling­ton. There was stand­ing room only at Bolling­ton Civic Hall when around 170 peo­ple at­tended the event, which had a Ques­tion Time for­mat.

The week started with a hus­tings at Poyn­ton Bap­tist Church on Mon­day and there was a hus­tings on Fri­day at Macclesfield Methodist Church, or­gan­ised by Hope for North East Cheshire. See @ en­tropy­events on Twit­ter for up­dates from the Trea­cle Mar­ket hus­tings.

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