Leading Holyrood politicians to take part in Church-sponsored hustings event

Speak Out politics hustings event

Politicians will come face-to-face with the harsh realities of 21st century Scotland expressed by ordinary people at a unique hustings event next month.

Leading representatives from the country's main political parties will be invited to directly respond to voters who will share their experiences and concerns about the state of the nation ahead of the Scottish Parliament election on May 5.

The Church of Scotland's Church and Society Council, which is organising the "event with a difference" in Edinburgh on April 4, believes that people can only make sense of the challenges facing the country's future if human stories are placed at the heart of political discussion.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney of the SNP, Scottish Labour Party leader Kezia Dugdale, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie and former Scottish Conservatives leader Annabel Goldie are taking part.

The People's Politics event – aimed at giving a voice to voters who are often unheard - is being held at the Church of Scotland's General Assembly Hall where the Scottish Parliament met for five years after being reconvened in 1999.

It will be chaired by the Moderator of the General Assembly the Right Rev Dr Angus Morrison.

He said: "Politics is not just about politicians, it is about all of us.

"I am excited to be chairing People's Politics because it will place the experiences of people who have had a raw deal at the very heart of our debate.

"As we move towards the 2016 Scottish elections this evening will inspire and inform our discussion while clearly demonstrating the Church's desire for a different sort of political debate."

Amongst those taking part in the hustings will be Georgina who will be sharing her thoughts on education and her experiences of being let down by a school system that did not believe in people from the area that she grew up in.

Blair will be sharing his experience of in-work poverty and working every hour available but still not having enough money to pay his bills.

The format involves ordinary members of the public sharing their stories one at a time followed by questions from the audience and discussion.

The Moderator will ask each of the party representatives, one at a time, to come and share their thoughts on what they have heard.

Once the politicians have had the chance to respond there may be chance for questions from the audience before Dr Morrison closes the event with a reflection and a prayer.

WHEN - Monday, 4 April 2016 from 18:30 to 20:00 (BST)

WHERE - Assembly Hall, Mound Place, Edinburgh EH1 2LU, United Kingdom.