Eastleigh’s main candidates in the forthcoming General Election will get a chance to go head to head while being grilled by top BBC political pundit Peter Henley on the ‘Politics Show’.
Sitting MP, Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne will do battle with rival Tory Maria Hutchings and Labour PPC Leo Barraclough. Just 500 votes separated the Lib Dems and the Tories in 2005 and the Conservatives have made the constituency a key marginal which yesterday Conservative Party Chairman Eric Pickles said was vital to win in order to secure an overall victory for David Cameron.
For most of Eastleigh’s 10,000 labour voters, this will be a first glimpse of their new candidate since the defection of the previous PPC, Dan Clarke to the Lib Dems.
Brighton resident and freelance journalist Leo Barraclough – who was unavailable for comment on Budget day – has previous electoral experience having been beaten by the Green Party in Brighton’s 2007 local election.
Not all the candidates are happy with the broadcast.
Both Ray finch for UKIP and Malcolm Moor for the English Democrats (on the extreme right of the photo) were not invited to take part.
Minority parties have fared poorly in Eastleigh’s previous General Election’s with UKIP losing their deposit in 2005.
Ray Finch who has previously stood in the area as an MEP and has campaigned on a wide variety of local issues, including job losses at Ford had this to say:
“I am disappointed that the BBC is perpetuating the status quo by refusing to allow the representative of the third most popular party in Eastleigh a chance to debate fairly and equally with the other parliamentary contenders. We beat Labour in the last national elections (Euro 2009) and consistently beat them in the local elections.”
‘The Politics Show’ is on BBC 1, Sunday, at 12.30.