There were cries of “shame” as both Conservative candidates passed on their apologies for non-attendance at a big general election hustings event in Milton Keynes.
The organisers allowed Cllr Alex Walker, the Conservative opposition leader on MK Council, to speak on his colleagues’ behalf.
Two other candidates also passed on their apologies: Saleyha Ahsan , the Lib Dem candidate in MK South, was not there. Amarachi Marilyn Ogba (Christian Peoples Alliance), also apologised.
Alan Francis, the Green party campaigner who is fighting his tenth general election in his 40 years in MK, outlined his party’s principles of climate action, a second referendum on Brexit, and ending austerity.
Independent Stephen Fulton, a father of three who was brought up by a single mum, is involved in youth rugby in Bletchley, is fighting on a platform of stopping “bad planning applications”.
A Brexit supporter, he said he was standing to “uphold democracy”.
Hannah O’Neill, Labour’s candidate in MK South, said as a born and bred MK mum of two she “wanted to deliver change”. She claimed her party’s plan for government represents the “most amazing manifesto that I’ve ever seen.”
She spoke about being embedded in MK and said she had “never had to pick between her party and her community”.
Lib Dem Aisha Mir was “awakened” by the independence referendum in her Scottish homeland, wants to stop Brexit because of it “unleashed something ugly, and also the best of us as well.”
Labour’s Charlynne Pullen is a former Ousedale School pupil and Oxford University history graduate who is now a governor at MK College. She is a keen cyclist and trade unionist who wants “good, affordable housing”.
She also wants to see action on the climate because “this is an emergency and we need to do something radical about it.”
Long time Olney resident Catherine Rose, of the Green Party, introduced herself as the conductor of the Open University Choir. “You might know me from my back,” she said.
She told the audience that she would stay local and wanted to tap into “your minds, your brains, your experiences and your hearts.”
Cllr Walker said he would “take back your concerns and feelings” back to both candidates.
He described Mr Stewart as a “strong and experienced” campaigner who had helped many residents through his casework.
He said Mr Everitt was a local and was a “grassroots champion” for Milton Keynes. He stood for “sustainable growth”, and more funding for police.
“Ben is standing to get things done,” said Cllr Walker.
All the candidates for the general election on Thursday, December 12, are:
MK North are: Ben Everitt (Cons); Aisha Mir (Lib Dem); Charlynne Pullen (Lab); and Catherine Rose (Green).
MK South are: Saleyha Ahsan (Lib Dem); Alan Francis (Green); Stephen Fulton (Ind); Hannah O’Neill (Lab), Amarachi Marilyn Ogba (Christian Peoples Alliance) and Iain Stewart (Cons).