Hereford & Worcester

Worcester pub hosts election debates

Cap 'n' Gown pub Image copyright Google
Image caption Politicians will debate a different issue each week

A publican plans to bring politicians to the people by hosting 10 weeks of political debate in his Worcester pub ahead of the general election.

Ted Marshall, landlord of the Cap 'n' Gown, said five political parties were to take part in debates on issues such as the NHS, education and immigration.

Conservative MP Robin Walker, three parliamentary candidates and a local councillor will discuss Europe later.

Mr Marshall believes the series of debates was very unusual for a pub.

He said hosting such political debates was not allowed in pubs before 2005 under the Licensing Act.

"I think this is quite a unique event and I don't think anybody has had 10 weeks of debate on all the big issues in the run up to the general election," he said.

All welcome

The Worcester seat, won by Mr Walker with a majority of 2,982 in 2010, is expected to be closely fought.

Mr Marshall, who became landlord at the pub in Upper Tything nine months ago, said the idea came out of his plan to hold a regular discussion group.

He said the debates would give politicians a platform to reach the local electorate.

"There's a lot of talk that politicians are remote and so on, but it actually does bring politics to the people and it's about bringing democracy to people as well."

He said the parties had pledged to send their candidates or alternatives to the debate, including Joy Squires, the parliamentary candidate for Labour, Louis Stephen for the Green Party, James Goad for UKIP and local councillor Liz Smith for the Liberal Democrats, who have still to choose their election candidate.

Mr Marshall said everyone was welcome to the event from 19:00 GMT as he hoped to have a "good cross-section" of opinions.

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