ELECTION: Independent Sheffield candidate not invited to debate - because he’s not in an achieving party

Joseph Jenkins, Carlton Reeve, Nick Clegg,
Joseph Jenkins, Carlton Reeve, Nick Clegg,
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An independent election candidate has been told he cannot feature in a Sheffield debate as he is not in a party which has achieved at least five per cent of votes.

Carlton Reeve, one of eight candidates standing in Sheffield Hallam against Nick Clegg, said it was ‘ironic’ the event had been organised by the group Sheffield for Democracy with Crookes Forum.

He said: “It doesn’t feel very democratic to me or likely to do anything but preserve the status quo.”

A resident suggested to the organisers of the hustings, on Wednesday April 29 from 7.30pm at Wesley Hall in Crookes, they should invite Mr Reeve.

But he was told the platform had been limited to four or five candidates so a ‘fruitful debate’ could be held.

Mr Reeve has been invited to sit in the audience and ask a question from the floor as a ‘sensible compromise’, said Vicky Seddon from Sheffield for Democracy.

She added: “We do not think it is possible to have an in-depth discussion, genuine debate and proper examination of candidates’ views with more than four or five speakers on the platform, in the time we have available.

“We have to have an objective basis for choosing, and decided to invite candidates who themselves, as individuals or their parties, have achieved five per cent of the votes at the last general election in Sheffield Central, or in the local elections there since, or, across Sheffield in the last year’s European election.

“Such an approach conforms to Electoral Commission guidance.”

Labour, Green, Ukip, Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates have been invited. Mr Clegg is sending a representative.