Kirsty Capes

A Union-organised Parliamentary hustings event went ahead as planned last week despite Conservative candidate Boris Johnson not showing up.

The current Mayor of London and Parliamentary candidate for the Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency was replaced with just an empty chair and a name card, demonstrating that he had been invited but had chosen not to attend the event.

The hustings was attended by around 85 students and members of the local community, and was organised by the Union’s Voter Registration Working Group. Other Parliamentary candidates Chris Summers (Labour), Graham Lee (Green), Jack Duffin (UKIP) and Mike Cox (Liberal Democrats) attended and answered a range of questions from Twitter and the audience.

Topics included immigration, crime and women in politics, as well as HS2 and the Heathrow third runway expansion project - both key issues for the local community.

Le Nurb understands that Boris Johnson was originally invited to the hustings several months ago by the Union, and was even offered to pick the date with the understanding that he would have the busiest schedule of the five main party candidates. Johnson’s office did not respond the Union’s repeated communications, and after a date was assigned later on, Johnson’s team declined to attend last minute, citing another Mayoral event in Haringey that evening as the reason. The other candidates heavily criticised Johnson for his non-attendance during the question time.

Johnson has been spotted on Brunel’s campus several times since announcing his candidacy for the Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency, but has failed to communicate directly with the Students’ Union. Despite this, he has posed for pictures outside the Union reception and met with top University executives in a closed meet and greet.

Also in the audience on the night was the Uxbridge and South Ruislip candidate for TUSC (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition), Gary Harbord.