Jesuit church parishioners grill parliamentary candidates

Climate change, homelessness, mental health. Parishioners at St Wilfrid’s in Preston were invited to grill the local Tory, Labour, Lib Dem and Green Party candidates on these issues at a hustings event organised by the church’s Faith and Justice Group.  

St Wilfrid’s is Jesuit-run and provides a drop-in for sufferers of drug addiction, as well as a hot food kitchen for the homeless. The candidates were asked what they would do to provide more services like this in the local community. As one parishioner pointed out, “we are providing these services because they are desperately needed.”  

Candidates were also challenged on the cut-backs to mental health services which have caused some in need of care to travel to other parts of the country to get help. Concerns about fracking were also raised in response to Cuadrilla’s recent announcement that it will not abandon its fracking ambitions in Lancashire, despite fierce opposition.  

Sir Mark Hendrick (Labour) is the sitting MP. He was joined on the panel by Michele Scott (Conservative), Neil Darby (Liberal Democrat) and Michael Welton (Green Party).  

Christine Murray (who chaired the panel) said:

“Parishioners and members of the local community who came along were very knowledgeable on the issues which made the Q&A much more interesting. The candidates answered all the questions fired at them, sticking closely to their respective manifestos.”

“We wanted to highlight the important issues and get a sense of what the candidates stand for ahead of the vote on the 12th December. In this respect, the event was a success.”