Venues settled for politicians’ ‘head-to-head’ debates

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The venues have been chosen for a series of political head-to-head debates between sitting MP, Conservative Craig Whittaker, and the Labour Parliamentary candidate Josh Fenton-Glynn.

Mr Fenton-Glynn had challenged Mr Whittaker to debate the National Health Service with him and Mrs Whittaker said he would be happy to do so, but believed some time must also be given to debating other political topics.

Once Mr Fenton-Glynn had agreed to widen the remit, representatives of both politicians, who will contest the Calder Valley seat in the General Election next spring, began to formulate the content of the meetings, and selecting neutral chairman and venues.

Mr Fenton-Glynn said after agreeing the four locations, designed to give as many Calder Valley residents access to a debate near to their homes as possible, the two camps drew the location names out of a hat to decide the order.

Potential upper Calder Valley attendees should note the change of date from that previously published for the upper valley debate as both sides wished to avoid a clash with a Hebden Bridge Town Council meeting.

The full list of dates, times and venues is now as follows.

- Thursday, September 25, Brighouse High School, 7pm to 9pm

- Tuesday, September 30, Ryburn Valley High School, 6pm to 8pm

- Thursday, October 9, Calder High School, Mytholmroyd 7pm to 9pm

- Saturday, October 11, Brooksbank School, Elland, 2pm to 4pm

Radio Leeds breakfast presenter Liz Green will chair the first debate in Brighouse. Neutral chair people will also be identified in the coming days for the other three debates.

The debates will each be two hours long, with the first hour dedicated to taking questions on local NHS provision, and a second hour where audience members will be able to ask questions on any topic they choose.

Josh Fenton-Glynn said: “These debates are an opportunity for local people to get their voices heard, and to hear in detail the views of the Tory MP and myself on the threat to our local NHS services.

“We have agreed a range of dates, venues and times in order to spread the debate across the whole constituency to allow as many residents as possible to attend one near them.

“I urge as many people as possible to attend.”