The UK Independence Party has accused Labour in Sunderland of suppressing democracy after a Labour candidate’s appeal to the Vice Chancellor of Sunderland University resulted in the organisers’ decision being overturned.
The local UK Independence Party candidate was unable to attend the debate because he had to look after his ill wife following a serious relapse in her chronic condition.
The event organisers were therefore informed that Jonathan Arnott MEP would attend in his place and speak at the debate. But on arrival Mr Arnott was informed that the Labour Party refused to debate him.
UKIP therefore provided a statement to the organisers of the debate to be read out so that students would understand the reason why the party was not the percentage.
However, after the organisers agreed to this, the Labour team contacted the Vice Chancellor of the University and was successful in ensuring that any statement would be suppressed.
UKIP’s representative Jonathan Arnott said “All of the other candidates were happy to debate me. The Conservative candidate even passed on his best wishes for a speedy recovery for Mrs. Forster. But Labour insisted that the event must be stage-managed to such an extent that the audience would not be allowed to know why a UKIP candidate was not present.
“I rearranged my diary at very short notice in the interests of democracy. Sadly, for Labour politics is all about spin not substance and stage management not genuine debate. By contacting the Vice Chancellor they show their contempt for democracy. This shows just how terrified Labour is about UKIP in the north of England.”