Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Cup Cake Challenge (image by ZR).

Hustings in Hastings 

Hearing that there are to be hustings in Hastings, where general election candidates are to be asked questions by members of the public, HOT’s Zelly Restorick asked one of the organisers, Chris Connelley, also a HOT writer, some questions of her own to find out more.

Where are the hustings to be held and who’s organised the event?

The general election hustings on Wednesday 22 April will be held at the Y Centre, the YMCA building on St Paul’s Road, St Leonards-on-Sea – and the event is being promoted by the Hastings Independent newspaper and the Y Centre.

Who’s involved?

It involves each of the six candidates who have already identified that they are standing: namely Amber Rudd for the Conservatives, Sarah Owen for Labour,  Andrew Michael for UKIP, Nick Perry for the Liberal Democrats, Jake Bowers for the Greens and David Lofts for Respect.

Is there still time for someone else to stand for election?

If other candidates throw their hats into the ring, we’ll be looking to involve them too, so we can offer local voters a full range of opinions on the night. The final date for declaring a candidacy is April 9th, so we won’t know the final list until then.

What will happen on the evening itself?

The format for the evening is simple. Each of the candidates will draw lots to decide the order for speaking, and will be given a timed five-minute slot to make a short presentation to the audience. There will no questions to individual candidates after each slot, with all questions taken through a one-hour open question time at the end. (Please scroll down below poster.)

Hustings in Hastings

Hustings in Hastings poster.

How can someone ask a question? 

Members of the audience can post a question on arrival, using the cards provided – or they can raise their hand to catch the eye of the independent chair. The chair for the evening will be local entrepreneur and community activist Clive Gross.

Who can attend and is there a charge?

The hustings are open to all local residents and there is no charge to attend. The Y Centre is a large space – and there is space for a large number of attendees, though seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. The building is accessible for those with disabilities.

Tell us more about the Cup Cake Challenge.

Light refreshments will be available on the night through Café Y and audience members will be invited to take part in our Cup Cake Challenge, where they can buy a cup cake in the colours of their preferred candidate at the end of the debate. This will give us a clear sense of ‘who won’ the hustings.

What is the purpose of the event?

The event is designed to give local voters direct access to those who aspire to represent them and is, to our knowledge, the only open-topic, free-entry, fully-attended hustings in the campaign. It is the brainchild of Chris Connelley, the Y Centre’s head of Projects and Development, and sometime writer for the Hastings Independent and Hastings Online Times. 

What are the origins of the term ‘hustings’?

Historical note: the term ‘hustings’ has a long lineage, deriving from an Old English term. More recently, in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was the term for a platform set up for elections from which candidates addressed the electorate before a show of hands determined who won.


To find out more: contact the Y Centre on 01424 429677 or write to or



Posted 09:17 Wednesday, Mar 25, 2015 In: Home Ground

1 Comment

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  1. David Lofts

    Very much looking forward to this event. And cup cakes too!

    Comment by David Lofts — Saturday, Mar 28, 2015 @ 09:04

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