LGBT General Election hustings cancelled in wake of Manchester attack
The only major LGBT election hustings of the 2017 General Election campaign has been cancelled after the Manchester terror attack.
An LGBT-focused hustings event had been set to take place tomorrow (May 25), hosted by Stonewall in partnership with PinkNews and Pride in London.
Representatives for the Conservatives, Labour, SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, Greens, UKIP and the Women’s Equality Party were invited to attend.
However, organisers today confirmed that the event has been cancelled in the wake of the terror attack in Manchester.
All political campaigning is currently suspended across the UK, and the Labour Party and Conservative Party both do not plan to resume their national campaigns until Friday.
It is unclear if it will be possible to reschedule the event before polling day, in just two weeks’ time.
Paul Twocock, Director of Campaigns, Policy and Research at Stonewall told PinkNews: “The events this week have shocked us all. We agree that now is the time for our communities to come together and support each other.
“A hustings event would be inappropriate during this period.
“There will be plenty of other opportunities before the election to discuss the issues that are important to LGBT people.Our thoughts are with the families and friends and all those affected by the terrible attack in Manchester.”
David Geary, Head of Political Engagement at Pride in London told PinkNews: “Given the tragic events in Manchester this week and in accordance with the wishes of candidates intending to join the Hustings event, we support the decision to cancel the planned event.
“It is right to fully respect the deference shown by the political parties at this time, all of whom have suspended their election campaigns while the authorities deal with the aftermath.
“When the campaign resumes, we look forward to engaging with the parties on their LGBT+ policies to ensure that our community is able to make an informed choice when they head to the ballot box.”
A message sent to attendees says: “You may have heard that in light of the tragic events that took place in Manchester on Monday evening, campaigning has been put on hold until Friday.
“Unfortunately, this means that our General Election LGBT Hustings on 25 May has been cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.
“We’re unclear whether we’ll be able to reschedule the event, but will keep you updated on any further developments.”
PinkNews CEO Benjamin Cohen added: “Although we were keen for there to be an LGBT hustings, it felt inappropriate for there to be party political debates at a time when the country should be trying to pull together.
“Hopefully, the event can be rescheduled, but in any case PinkNews will continue to scrutinise the LGBT rights proposals of all parties.”
When the election period resumes, PinkNews will continue with our series of readers’ Q&As with the party leaders.
Our Q&A with Prime Minister leader Theresa May was published last week.