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Candidates quizzed in first Ipswich 'climate hustings' - but who opted not to take part?

PUBLISHED: 11:30 09 December 2019

The hustings hosted by Extinction Rebellion Ipswich. From left to right Sandy Martin (Labour), Dan Pratt (Green), debate chairman Jonathan Douse, Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett (Lib Dems) and James Sandbach (Lib Dems). Picture: XR IPSWICH

The hustings hosted by Extinction Rebellion Ipswich. From left to right Sandy Martin (Labour), Dan Pratt (Green), debate chairman Jonathan Douse, Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett (Lib Dems) and James Sandbach (Lib Dems). Picture: XR IPSWICH

Extinction Rebellion Ipswich

The first 'climate hustings' for Parliamentary candidates took place in Ipswich less than a week ahead of polling day - but the Conservatives were notable by their absence.

Candidates for both the Ipswich and Central Suffolk and North Ipswich seats were invited to the event, hosted by the Ipswich branch of Extinction Rebellion on Friday night.

Labour's Sandy Martin and Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett from the Liberal Democrats took part from the Ipswich constituency, while Daniel Pratt (Green) and James Sandbach (Lib Dems) were present from the Central Suffolk cohort.

According to event organisers, both Tom Hunt (Ipswich) and Dr Dan Poulter (Central Suffolk) from the Conservative party were invited but declined to take part.

The hustings focussed on environmental issues such as single-use plastics, a northern bypass, Sizewell C and tackling air pollution.

A spokeswoman from Extinction Rebellion Ipswich said: "This General Election is likely to be one of the most critical in history.

"Scientists have stated that timescales we are facing mean we have only a few short years left in order to mitigate the more severe effects of climate change.

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"The policies of our next elected government will have a crucial impact on our and our children's future.

"Therefore it is essential we find out how each party intends to address this with their proposed policies for dealing with the climate and ecological emergency.

"We would like to strongly urge voters to consider the environmental policies of each party, and the voting records of each candidate, before making a decision on how to vote on Thursday 12th December."

The debate, held at the Quaker Meeting House in Fonnereau Road, was chaired by Jonathan Douse, clinical lead for cardiology, respiratory and stroke medicine at Ipswich Hospital.

The candidates were also quizzed on measures Extinction Rebellion have put together calling on the government to declare a climate emergency.

Among those were calls to back a pledge to achieve zero emissions of greenhouse gasses and halt the extinction of species by 2025, and establish a citizens assembly.

It also calls on the government to place additional duties on the secretary of state and the committee force on climate change to achieve those measures.

To view the debate, see the video here.

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