Left Watch

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Labour and Lib Dem candidates refuse to allow election debate to be filmed and posted online

It has been previously suggested that we are about to enjoy Britain's first "YouTube election" with both ease of access to the internet and the ease with which videos can be posted to sites like YouTube meaning that candidates will be subject to an unprecedented level of online scrutiny.

Last week, for example, we posted this clip from a debate in the Richmond Park constituency in which Zac Goldsmith accused his Liberal Democrat opponent of inventing a "Save Our Hospital" campaign for political advantage.

But allowing this online scrutiny is not a development supported by the Lib Dem or Labour candidates in all constituencies.

This week the Imperial College Deabting Society organised a pre-election debate between the Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem and Green candidates for the newly drawn Hammersmth constituency, where Shaun Bailey is donning the blue rosette.

He had gained permission from the organsiers for one of his campaign volunteers to film the debate in order to share it with a wider audience via the internet. However, at the last minute the organisers withdrew that permission after the Labour and Lib Dem candidates refused to be filmed.

Shaun Bailey said afterwards:

“This was the first public debate between myself and the other local candidates in Hammersmith & Shepherds Bush. After being given permission from the debate organiser, we had planned to film the night in order to make it available online. We desperately need greater transparency in politics. For candidates from two of the three major parties to refuse to be filmed at a public debate is simply staggering. What are they afraid of?"

If you know of any other cases like this please let us know.

Jonathan Isaby