Falmouth hears a lively debate about the Euro elections – but off-stage row about exclusion of the Green Party rumbles on

Posted By on 9th May 2019

By Graham Smith Nearly 100 people attended a European Parliament elections’ hustings last night to hear South West candidates from the Brexit Party, Labour, the Conservatives and Change UK. Hosted…

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This article has 3 comments

  1. From Tom Scott, Green Party:
    Cornwall’s Green Party has raised questions over the way the party was excluded from a hustings event with candidates on Penryn Campus, despite having two election candidates based in Cornwall.
    The event on Wednesday evening was organised by Cornish Stuff, which describes itself as an “independent online newspaper for Cornwall” that is “not affiliated to any political party or movement”. It was advertised as “a Question Time style event with a panel of candidates standing in the European Elections”.
    The organisers had asked Molly Scott Cato, who has served as a Green Party MEP for the South West since 2014, to join the panel. Molly had been happy to accept, but a few days later had to pull out after learning that the Green Party was to hold its national euro election campaign launch in London on the same day. The party immediately offered another candidate on the Green Party list, Falmouth-based Tom Scott, to replace her, but was told it had to be Molly or no representation on the panel at all.
    “An extraordinary correspondence with Milo Perrin of Cornish Stuff then ensued,” said Tom Scott. “Mr Perrin attempted to threaten the Greens by saying that if Molly could not appear, he would offer the place on the panel to the Lib Dems. We responded by saying that it would probably be sensible to have a Lib Dem on the panel as well, but this only seemed to enrage Mr Perrin further.
    “Mr Perrin then accused us of lying about the reason for Molly not being able to be in Penryn. He also alleged that Molly was either afraid of debate or did not care about Cornish voters. Both accusations are completely false – Molly had just spent several days in Cornwall, addressing public meetings and meeting a wide range of people here, and anyone who knows her will be aware that she is very far from being scared of robust debate. It’s also ironic that – while accusing us of lying – Mr Perrin continued to advertise Molly as a member of the panel for three more days, despite knowing that she would not in fact be there.
    “We’re disappointed that the Green Party was not represented on this panel, and by the fact that the panel’s four members only included one candidate from a clearly anti-Brexit party. We thought people attending the event deserved to know the truth about our exclusion, so Karen and I went along to explain this politely to the audience as they arrived. Mr Perrin then angrily accused us of being troublemakers, and confirmed that we had been deliberately excluded not only from panel but also from the audience. He also tried but failed to have us ejected from the campus.
    “We think Mr Perrin’s refusal to have a Green candidate from Cornwall on the panel sits oddly with Cornish Stuff’s positioning as a Cornwall-focused publication. His style of correspondence with us also smacks of unprofessionalism, and does not reflect well either on Cornish Stuff or on the way this event was organised. The event clearly fell under the description of a hustings as defined by the Electoral Commission, but anyone expecting a balanced debate from a full range of candidates will have been sorely disappointed. It was obviously completely unbalanced in favour of parties that support Brexit.
    “It’s a shame that the imbalance so often criticised in the BBC’s selection of Question Time panellists was reproduced by this event – and that a party with two candidates from Cornwall and a well-respected MEP was not represented at all.”

  2. Missing out the Greens and the Lib Dems was pretty bad. Tom Scott is Falmouth based and has been a long-term Green activist. There’s no excuse to exclude him

  3. One would have assumed that with Climate Change and species extinction at last being taken seriously by local and national governments, that a Green presence would be essential. To brand someone a trouble maker is insulting and unacceptable. The organisers should be looking at their motivation for holding this event. And the Brexit crowd should be questioning their candidacy. If they are just going to Brussels to be disruptive and annoying don’t do it. Try to be adults, like Greta Thunberg.

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