General election hustings at Stalham Baptist Church
Stalham Baptists are providing an opportunity for the public to meet the three general election candidates for North Norfolk, but are expecting the event to prove more peaceful than similar proceedings more than a century ago!
The hustings will take place on Wednesday May 24 at Stalham Baptist Church from 7pm. The participants will be James Wild, the Conservative candidate, Stephen Burke for Labour and Norman Lamb representing the Liberal Democrats. The Green Party and UKIP have said that they will not be fielding candidates in this constituency.
A similar husting was held in Stalham prior to the last election, which was well attended and very successful. The format is similar to BBC’s “Question time”, so the candidates answer questions from the floor as well as being able to make a 2-minute speech at the end. There will then be an opportunity to meet the candidates in an informal way with tea, coffee and cakes.
Ron Skivington, pastor at Stalham Baptist Church, said “We are running a hustings for a variety of reasons: - To give people in North Norfolk the opportunity to hear our 3 candidates answer questions and debate issues that are relevant to us; to help people become better informed, since many either don't get or don't read leaflets that come through the door; and simply that Church should be at the heart of the community, and being able to offer our buildings for something as important as a general election seems to be a good thing to do.”
Stalham has a history of political debate. In 1895, the “Great Stalham riot” took place when the conservative candidate and author Rider Haggard, right, was attacked by the liberals after one of Haggard’s outriders had struck a protestor with his crop. Haggard’s coach was dumped in Stalham Staithe, and he had barricaded himself in at the Swan Inn in Stalham, from where he had to be rescued by some “stout men” from North Walsham. The inhabitants of Stalham where later compared to the Zulus and Hottentots in parliament.
The church can be found on the High Street by the junction with Lower Staithe Road, Ingham Road and Yarmouth Road. NR12 9AZ.