General Election 2015: Chance to quiz Corby candidates

The Rev Dr Karin Voth Harman and parishioners pictured outside King's Cliffe doctors' surgery before the  big debate on the health of the nation with all the local parliamentary candidates
The Rev Dr Karin Voth Harman and parishioners pictured outside King's Cliffe doctors' surgery before the big debate on the health of the nation with all the local parliamentary candidates

Voters will get the chance to question their prospective Parliamentary candidates at a series of hustings events.

The MPs and those hoping to oust them will be taking part in a number of question and answer events between now and the General Election on May 7.

The MP for Corby, Andy Sawford, and his main rival, Conservative Tom Pursglove, are among the candidates appearing at a health debate in an historic church.

They will be answering questions inside the 12th century church at King’s Cliffe from 7.30pm on Monday, April 13.

Sitting alongside Mr Sawford and Mr Pursglove will be Jonathan Hornett (Green), Peter Harris (Lib Dem) and Margot Parker (UKIP). 

The Question Time-styled debate will be chaired by Ian Balmer, the chief executive of the Royal Society of Medicine and one of two churchwardens at King’s Cliffe.

The Rev Dr Karin Voth Harman, curate of King’s Cliffe and neighbouring villages, is helping to organise the free event and said all were welcome to take part. She also urged anyone with a passion for health matters to pen questions and post them in a mock ‘ballot box’ placed at the back of the church.

She added: “The church set up the first hospitals in this country and has always been at the heart of health and healing, so All Saints and St James is a natural choice of setting in which to discuss the medical and social issues that affect us all today.

“There will also be opportunities to ask questions on any topic, and we hope our politicians will respond with the careful thought and compassion characteristic of this church community.”

Dozens of local hospital specialists, GPs and nurses are among healthcare professionals in the public and private sector who have received personal invitations to the hustings, and volunteer health workers and regular churchgoers are expected to swell the numbers.

The ballot box is available now in King’s Cliffe church for questions to be posted in advance.

It is also available for questions from those who cannot attend the hustings or do not wish to ask a question in person. 

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The MP for Corby, Andy Sawford, said: “Many people may not feel they are interested in politics, but they do care about local issues like the quality of our health services, jobs, employment conditions and how well our schools are helping young people to get a good start in life.

“I’m currently out knocking on doors and talking to local people all day, every day, about these issues and how we can make improvements.

“I have accepted all the hustings invitations I have received and I am happy to debate with all the candidates.

“This is a really important part of our democracy.

“It is a chance for people to talk about the key issues facing us locally and nationally, and for people to say how they would go about being the MP.

“I am proud of my record since I was elected and I am looking forward to setting out my plans for the future if people choose to send me back to Parliament.”

Two other churches are also holding their own hustings meetings.

Rushden and Higham Ferrers Council of Churches is holding an election hustings meeting from 7.30pm to 9.30pm on Thursday, April 30, at Park Road Baptist Church, Park Road, Rushden.

All the Parliamentary candidates for the Wellingborough constituency have been invited and everyone is welcome to attend. There will be time for members of the public to ask questions.

More details are available from the Rev Dr Mark Duggan on 01933 741126.

The parish church in Kettering, St Peter and Paul, is holding a hustings event from 6pm to 8.30pm on Sunday, May 3.

And the Federation of Small Businesses is holding a hustings from 6pm on Wednesday, April 15, at the Holiday Inn, Geddington Road, Corby.

It is asking people to register, go to for details.