GRAHAM Bliss, the Green parliamentary candidate for Rugby and Bulkington, has hit out at his Conservative counterpart Mark Pawsey for turning down the chance to speak at next week’s election debate.
Mr Pawsey, who hopes to regain the seat he has held since 2010, told hustings organisers he was unavailable for the event, which takes place on Tuesday (May 23).
Mr Bliss said it was a sign Mr Pawsey and the Tories were scared of the opposition.
He said: “His refusal to face public scrutiny over his appalling voting record, or his Government’s punitive policies that have ravaged local services and affected the most vulnerable people in Rugby, is a disgrace.
“An MP needs to be accountable to local people about their local record, but it seems Mark would rather do the bidding of the Tory Party in London than be up to scrutiny.”
Rev Dr Michael Bochenski of hustings organisers Rugby Churches Together, said they decided to go ahead despite Mr Pawsey’s unavailability.
He said: “There is a long tradition of church groups hosting hustings like these across Britain and this year’s snap election is no exception.
“We had hoped we would be able to hear all four candidates on the night. Perhaps another group in the town will achieve that before June 8 – we very much hope so.”
The other three Rugby candidates – Claire Edwards (Labour), Jerry Roodhouse (Liberal Democrat) and Mr Bliss – will attend the debate, which takes place at St Andrew’s Church from 7.30pm to 9.15pm on Tuesday (May 23).
Any questions for the candidates must be submitted to debate chair Rev Imogen Nay by 5pm on Sunday (May 21). Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01788 565609.