UKIP debate: Students' Union to hold non-binding poll
The Students’ Union will be holding an online poll on whether smaller parties should be invited to the planned Question Time style debate to be held ahead of the 2015 general election.
Currently, parties will only be invited to speak if they received more than 5% of the ‘Brighton Pavilion’ constituency vote in 2010.
The poll is a response to complaints from some students that the debates were unfair.
Uninvited UKIP candidate, Nigel Carter, is expected to perform better at the election than Lib Dem, Chris Bowers, according Lord Ashcroft’s December 2014 opinion poll.
The vote will be conducted on the Students’ Union website from 2pm on Monday 16th – 2pm Thursday 19th February.
The question will be as follows:
Should the Students’ Union uphold the current threshold of 5% of the popular vote from the 2010 General Election in the Brighton Pavilion Constituency to be invited to the Candidates Question Time Event in March 2015?
The Students’ Union executive committee have the right to act contrary to the results of the poll. The poll will be regarded as indicative of student opinion.
Michael Segalov, Communications Officer, said “whatever our personal political opinions, the Students’ Union is a democracy and is legally bound to uphold freedom of speech within the limits of the law.
“The decision that has been made by Exec and Council in relation to the Question Time event was to ensure that parties with a chance of being elected in the constituency of Brighton Pavilion [are invited].
“However, as officers, we want to make sure that students have their say and, as such, will be holding this online poll. Whilst the results can’t be binding, as there is not time to hold a referendum, I, and I expect other officers, will take a lead from what students say on the matter.”
The poll is only considered representative if at least 450 students respond.
In a statement on their website, the Students’ Union said: “We would encourage all students to vote on this matter, as [the] Executive Committee would hope that at least 450 students will take part”.