Churches holding General Election hustings

Churches across Scotland are holding General Election hustings to try and help people decide who to vote for.

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Kirk’s Church and Society Council, said congregations are well placed to allow candidates to set out their stalls in a safe and respectful environment.

Polling Station
UK voters will take to the polls on 12 December.

He added that the hustings would also “give voice” to people affected by the policies of political parties.

Events ahead of the 12 December poll are being organised by Livingston United Parish Church and the Fellowship of Kilmarnock Churches at the Howard Centre on 4 December and 6 December respectively.

Candidates will be grilled at events organised by at Greyfriars Parish Church in Lanark on 10 December and St Michael’s Parish Church in Linlithgow on 8 December.

Former Moderator of the General Assembly, Very Rev Dr Derek Browning, is chairing a hustings at Morningside Parish Church on 2 December at 7.30pm for the Edinburgh South constituency.

Polwarth Parish Church
Polwarth Parish Church in Edinburgh.

Dr Frazer is moderating a hustings at Polwarth Parish Church in Edinburgh on 26 November from 7pm-8.30pm.

It is open to the general public and people are being encouraged to submit questions, based on their own personal experiences, to put to the candidates.

They will be accompanied by a prepared statement of 150—200 words that will be read out to the room.

The event has been organised by ecumenical group Churches Together S & SW, which comprises Polwarth Parish Church, Gorgie Dalry Stenhouse Church of Scotland, St Michael’s Parish Church, St Cuthbert’s Roman Catholic Church and St Martin of Tours Scottish Episcopal Church.

Safe and respectful environment

The candidates taking part are Callum Laidlaw (Scottish Conservative), Joanna Cherry (SNP), Ben Park (Scottish Green Party), Tom Inglis (Scottish Liberal Democrats), David Ballantine (Brexit Party) and Mev Brown (SDP).

Scottish Labour has yet to announce which one of their candidates will take part as Ian Murray, who represented Edinburgh South in the last UK Parliament, is unavailable.

Rev Dr Richard Frazer
Rev Dr Richard Frazer

Dr Frazer, minister of Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh, said: “In times when communities are polarised and our future is so uncertain, it is important to find ways in which people can communicate their ideas, hopes and fears in a safe and respectful environment.

“In the spirit of Jesus, who gave voice to those who inhabited the margins, this event is not so much about providing a platform for candidates to set out their stall, as it is about giving a voice to those whose lives are impacted by policy, hearing their stories and asking candidates to respond to people’s lived experience.”

People wishing to ask a question at the Polwarth Parish Church event should e-mail Rev Jack Holt jholt@churchofscotland.org.uk by 23 November.