Model Westminster Durham Society Question Time

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Model Westminster Durham Society Question Time

One of Model Westminster’s Ambassadors and Durham University student, Craig Bateman, has alongside others from the University formed a Model Westminster society on campus. On the 5th June the society hosted its first event, as Society Treasurer, Charlie Taylor-Kroll, explains.

Durham University Model Westminster Society hosted its first event since becoming a Durham Student Union ratified society co-hosting a special General Election 2017 Question Time event on the 5th June.

The event, held at St Chad’s College Durham, saw a panel of candidates representing the Labour, Green, Liberal Democrat, and Conservative parties. Similar to that of BBC Question Time, questions were put forward by audience members to the candidates as a basis of wider group discussion.

The panel was made up of Dr Roberta Blackman-Wood (Labour), Dr Richard Lawrie (Conservative), Amanda Hopgood (Liberal Democrat) and Jonathan Elmer (Green Party).

Each candidate predictably clashed on a number of issues throughout the debate. On the issue of why the election was called, Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, the Labour candidate for Durham, claimed it was because of the Conservative party’s “opportunism”, whilst the Conservative candidate Dr Richard Lawrie claimed that a general election called due to the oppositions party were “lining up to cause trouble.”

The audience were active throughout the event, candidates fielded a number of challenging questions. Questions regarding the suitability Labour’s shadow cabinet were answered by Dr Roberta Blackman-Wood urging people to “get away from this castigation of Diane Abbott and address how we address the defence strategy of this country”. Dr Lawrie responded saying that there should be “serious concerns” about the Labour shadow cabinet.

Another audience members asked the panel their position on several issues including fox hunting, euthanasia and cannabis legalisation. Liberal Democrat candidate Amanda Hopgood and Green party candidate Jonathan Elmer supported to the legalisation of cannabis provided that “it was managed effectively.”

Following the panel questions, audience members shared a glass of wine with the candidates engaging with issues of public and social policy and aiding discussion.


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