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General Election Hustings

Volume 589: debated on Thursday 11 December 2014

8. What guidance the Commissioners are providing to parishes wishing to hold hustings before the general election. (906596)

The Church of England intends to partner with other local churches to put on hustings for the 2015 general election and will adapt guidance published by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland and other organisations for use in its parishes.

Churches Together was one of only two organisations that arranged meetings prior to the last election where all candidates appeared. It is vital that we do all we can to encourage such meetings. As well as guidance, can my right hon. Friend give any additional help and support to individual parishes or Churches Together to arrange such meetings?

I assure my hon. Friend and the whole House that all guidance produced for parishes for hustings meetings at the general election will comply with both the Charity Commission regulations regarding political activity and those of the Electoral Commission. As some of us know from previous general elections, Churches Together is experienced in organising hustings meetings in constituencies across the country. Those have been widely welcomed because they enable questions to be put on issues that might not otherwise be raised during a general election campaign, and I very much hope that will happen as much as possible at the general election next year.