Having had my own hustings cancelled I went to see the Rochford and Southend East event. This was held at Belle Vue Baptist Church last night, and a good crowd turned out to watch and take part in the two hour proceedings.
The biggest loser on the night was James Duddridge. Quite how he imagined it is a good idea to avoid a hustings is beyond me. His absence not only smacks of political cowardice, but is an affront to those he claims to represent. I do not care what excuse he may have, as a candidate you make yourself available as much as possible.
Ashley Dalton (Labour) was the standout candidate. Clear, concise, and articulate. She will make an excellent Member of Parliament. Simon Cross (Green) had his moments, and made a couple of good jokes. The remainder appeared lacking in substance, and were clearly outshone in virtually every question asked by Labour's Ashley.
All candidates opposed the proposals to downgrade Southend Hospital's A&E facilities, and this is welcome, even if some were slow off the mark in this regard.