On the last evening in May (Wednesday 31), the stage was set for International Hustings in Swansea at St Mary’s Church.
The event was jointly organised by the Welsh Centre for International Affairs and the Church in Wales and was chaired by the Rt Revd John Davies, Bishop of Swansea and Brecon.
It was an opportunity for our campaign volunteers from CAFOD to question representatives from the main political parties about key international issues within the remit of Westminster and the UK government.
Some questions were sent in advance by email and others were drawn from the audience.
Stuart Harper (St David’s Priory Church, Swansea) and Michael Doyle (Holyrood and St Teilo, Tenby) both attended and were joined by Therese Warwick, CAFOD’s representative in the diocese of Menevia.
We were all in possession of an excellent joint election briefing paper produced by CAFOD and CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network – which was established by the Catholics Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales to develop the Church’s social action in the UK) and three questions that we would like to put forward.
Dan Boucher – Conservative Candidate – Swansea East
Daniel Williams – Plaid Cymru candidate – Neath
Geraint Davies – Labour candidate – Swansea East
Ian Chandler – Green Party candidate – Monmouth
Mike O’Carroll – Liberal Democrat candidate – Swansea West
Clifford Johnson – UKIP candidate – Swansea East (who stood in for Caroline Jones – UKIP Assembly member – South Wales West.
It was an interesting debate covering the refugee crisis, the possibility of Wales being a country of sanctuary and the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon… but as Michael pointed out, the audience was left feeling that there wasn’t quite enough time allowed for audience members to ask more questions.
In the run up to the election on Thursday, May 8, we have an opportunity to speak up for the world’s poorest communities. We can encourage all political parties and candidates to show how they will work for the common good. Why not email your local candidate these three questions?