Election hustings cancelled after only two of 12 candidates confirm attendance


An election hustings organised by Westgate and Garlinge action group against housing development has been called off after only two of 12 invited candidates confirmed they would attend.

The campaign group had arranged the event, due to take place today (April 29) so residents could put their questions to the Birchington and villages and Margate candidates standing in the KCC May elections.

Penny Wells, vice chair and secretary of the Westgate and Garlinge action group said the lack of response was disappointing.

She said no response was received from Bertie Braidwood independent, Ash Asbhee and Linda Wright Conservatives.

Conservatives say apologies were sent for Ash Ashbee and Linda Wright.

Derek Crow Brown Conservative sent apologies due to health reasons and informed that Linda Wright would also not be attending due to being on the TDC planning committee.

Rob Yates Labour informed that he may not be able to join the meeting due to having to attend one at Thanet council  but would join later if able. Barry Lewis Labour accepted  the invitation and then emailed the day before to say that he could no longer attend due to having his Covid jab.

Abby Smith Green and Martin Pennington Lib Dem confirmed attendance.

Penny said: “We understand that people may have prior commitments and could not attend for reasons of health but only two out of a possible 12 candidates attending is very poor. It is particularly concerning that some did not even respond.
“The matter of the housing development is a cause of concern of many residents. People are deciding how to vote.This was an opportunity for candidates to engage with their electorate and to explain how they would represent them if elected as a KCC councillor.”

Residents had submitted questions for the hustings around housing development, brownfields and agricultural land.

These will now be forwarded on to the candidates and a written response requested which will then be published on the action group Facebook page.

Residents go to the polls on May 6 to vote in county council elections as well as Thanet by-elections, the Broadstairs Neighbourhood Plan and for the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner office.


  1. How rude & disrespectful! My votes therefore go to those who said they would attend. One Green & one LibDem. Sorted. Manners is everything

  2. The election are just too predictive. Whatever the candidates say they can rarely do. The Tory candidates talk about the vaccine but they had nothing to do with it. Britain’s have to wait longer than the EU between jabs so they are ruining their only success.

  3. As normal for these councilors they think they are above us commoners so can do as the please and do what suit them. Just shows us locals what we have coming, mindless twit’s and unwilling to listen bunch of wasters

    • Councillors are “commoners” too, aren’t they? And plenty of non-councillors think they can do what they like.

  4. Another excuse from Barry Lewis. I was looking forward to putting my questions to him. Remember when you vote, that if he couldn’t be bothered to turn up then he can’t be bothered to represent you as a county councillor. Always false promises with him and Labour. I had my second covid vaccine yesterday.

    Shame on the other candidates aswell, regardless of party.

  5. Sounds like some have legitimate reasons for not attending-other pre-arranged meetings or self isolating, the rest not even responding shows the contempt they hold the public in. Ashbee’s propaganda went in the recycling yesterday.

  6. Obviously I don’t know the situation, but certainly with second Pfizer jabs, dates are very limited – I had to take a date and time very inconvenient for me.

    Barry has been a fantastic councillor who I genuinely feel has made a difference where I live. He has been at nearly every neighbourhood meeting I attended (pre-Covid) and that was just for one area – he must have so many commitments but to my knowledge, he really does go above and beyond with all kinds of local initiatives around his patch. I can only imagine that he would have been there if he could because to be honest if I was going to put money on any of the local councillors turning up to make a difference, then the safe bet would be on it being Barry.

    And certainly I know a number of initiatives in my local area would not have gone forward without his support and tenacity so I wish him luck in this election because I think this area needs councillors like him who a) care and b) really get involved and try to get things done.

    Incidentally I am not in anyway affiliated with the party that Barry represents – I’m merely commenting on Barry as a KCC councillor and how hard I have seen him work.

  7. There’s not a great deal local councillors can do about the housing numbers.
    Collectively, we voted for a Tory national government. We have two tory MPs for Thanet. The tories have imposed a huge quota of housing development on Thanet.
    We had (eventually) a half decent Local Plan, which put quite a lot of houses on the ex-airfield site. But this was thrown out by a hotch-potch of tory, UKIP and TIG councillors, resulting in the less than satisfactory situation we now have.
    I note that both Westgate and Garlinge have a fair number of tory councillors representing them.
    Maybe concerned residents should ask them about the national housing policy, and the Local Plan?

    • Quite amazing. The people of Thanet vote in Tory MPs and a Tory government that had a policy to cover the area with awful, unaffordable housing not needed for local housing needs. No Doctors, poor hospitals, shortage of schools and no trees.

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