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The flag flies at half-mast outside Muriel Matters House following Saturday's terror attack in London.

The flag flies at half-mast outside Muriel Matters House following Saturday’s terror attack in London.

Candidate “silenced” at Rye hustings

The hustings in Rye on Saturday was marred by controversy when independent candidate Nicholas Wilson was ”silenced” by the chair as he raised the question of the UK government’s relations with Saudi Arabia. Nick Terdre reports.

Independent candidate Nicholas Wilson, who is standing against Home Secretary Amber Rudd in the Hastings and Rye constituency on an anti-corruption platform, was “silenced” by the chair of the hustings meeting in Rye, his agent said.

Mr Wilson was speaking after Ms Rudd had mentioned last month’s terror attack in Manchester in response to a question about law and order.

“I took up the theme and started to say that you can’t look at that in isolation and we need to consider arms sales and HSBC deals, etc, with Saudi, which benefit the Tories,” Mr Wilson told HOT.

At this point Ms Rudd, who was sitting next to the chairman, the Rev Dick Dengate, wrote a quick note which she passed to him. He read it and then asked Mr Wilson to stop. When Mr Wilson asked why, and if he was being censored, the chair got up, walked over to him and asked for the microphone, which after a further short protest, Mr Wilson handed over.

The episode was filmed by Mr Wilson’s agent, Clive Gross, and posted on Mr Wilson’s YouTube channel, where it has since gone viral, according to Mr Gross.

“The chairman came up with two reasons [for his intervention],” Mr Wilson said. “First I was going off-topic (I wasn’t) and then that I was being personal (I wasn’t).”

The point that could not be made

Asked about the point he had been prevented from making, Mr Wilson said, “What I was trying to do was show the connection between the fact that the UK is the second biggest arms dealer in the world and supplies huge amounts of arms to proponents of Wahhabism [a militant form of Islam], Saudi Arabia, that bombs civilians in Yemen, beheads citizens and supports and promotes IS, with the Tory party doing business in Saudi for BAE Systems and HSBC.

“And how [Theresa] May’s husband’s company Global Capital just entered into a huge business deal with HSBC after she became PM and that HSBC were in the frame to advise on Saudi oil company Aramco’s IPO [initial public offering], which would be the world’s largest ever at $50-100 billion. HSBC got the job just after May visited Saudi in April with the chair of the London Stock Exchange – the only official that attended business meetings with her in Saudi.

“It’s all public record.”

Mr Wilson blew the whistle on fraudulent activity at HSBC in 2004 and set in motion a campaign which this year led to the bank undertaking to pay £4 million back to several thousand customers – he believes the amount it should pay is closer to £100 million.

Another terror attack

The incident at the hustings occurred just hours before the latest terror attack in London, following which there have again been questions raised about the role of UK arms sales in fuelling worldwide conflict, Mr Gross commented.

“I have never seen anything quite like this at any hustings meetings I have attended before,” he said. “Nicholas was clearly answering the question that was put to him in terms of how UK arms sales to the Middle East could affect our security and safety back in the UK and then was shut down by the chair of the meeting after what appeared to be an intervention by Amber Rudd.

“Even though I am not a supporter of Ms Rudd, I have always regarded her as a serious and formidable politician, but to appear to attempt to prevent a fellow candidate from speaking like this instead of answering the issue he was raising has changed my opinion.”

The hustings, organised by Churches Together, was the first in this campaign at which all five candidates have been present, including Labour’s Peter Chowney, the LibDems’ Nick Perry and Ukip’s Michael Phillips.

Final hustings

In the light of Saturday’s attack, the question of terrorism and its causes is almost certain to be raised at the final hustings scheduled for Tuesday evening at the Hastings Centre on The Ridge, starting at 7.30pm. This is due to be chaired by the Bishop of Lewes, Richard Jackson.

Flags on the old and new town halls were lowered to half-mast on Sunday morning. The council will join in the national one minute’s silence for the victims at 11am on Tuesday, a spokesman said. A civic party led by the mayor, Cllr Judy Rogers, will make its way from Muriel Matters House on the sea front to Queen’s Square just before 11.


Article amended by Nick Terdre on 6 June 2017 to give the correct name of the chairman – thanks to Spiny Norman (see comments) for pointing it out.

Posted 15:55 Monday, Jun 5, 2017 In: Election 2017


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. Ms.Doubtfire

    Not sure about this one but it does seem somewhat odd that we supply weapons to some countries which appear to put these weapons to questionable use.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Monday, Jun 12, 2017 @ 09:09


    When the next election is called. Amber Rudd will lose her seat. At least another 1000 young people will be voting for the fist time and they are certain to want to get rid of the Tory.

    Comment by DON SMITH — Saturday, Jun 10, 2017 @ 21:44

  3. Spiny Norman

    The chairman at the Rye hustings was Rev. Dick Dengate (former President of Rye & District Churches Together). He was standing in for the Bishop of Lewes, who was away on holiday.

    Comment by Spiny Norman — Tuesday, Jun 6, 2017 @ 14:31

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