North East Beds parliamentary candidates send condolences to Manchester as General Election campaigning suspended

Alastair Burt

Alastair Burt - Credit: Archant

General Election campaigning has been halted this week across the country – and North East Beds’ response was no different in the wake of the terror attack in Manchester.

Julian Vaughan

Julian Vaughan - Credit: Archant

The murderous attack which killed 22 innocent people including a number of children has seen parties down tools in light of the horrific events at Manchester Arena on Monday night.

Directives issued by all parties at a local level have said that low-key campaigning can begin again but should stop short of canvassing, although people can leaflet should they so wish.

Phillipa Fleming

Phillipa Fleming - Credit: Archant

In sending his condolences to Manchester, Conservative incumbent Alistair Burt tweeted: “I was minister for Manchester in 1996. I know how the city responded and rose afterwards.”

Embedded in the message was a picture of many thousands of Mancunians showing a dignified solidarity outside Albert Square in the heart of the city centre. He added: “This picture says it all.”

Stephen Rutherford

Stephen Rutherford - Credit: Archant

Labour candidate Julian Vaughan also tweeted his sympathy, writing: “My thoughts are with the families and friends of those injured and killed in the tragic events in Manchester.”

Phillipa Fleming of the Green Party posted on her Facebook page: “Thoughts and solidarity to those who were affected by the terrorist incident at the Manchester Arena.”

Duncan Strachan

Duncan Strachan - Credit: Archant

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Once the suspension is agreed to be lifted by all party leaders, the campaign will begin again. In light of that there is a hustings planned to grill those contesting the North East Beds seat.

The BBC Question Time-styled debate will be held at Biggleswade’s Baptists Church on Sunday, June 4 – with all candidates set to attend.

Competing alongside Conservative Mr Burt, Ms Fleming of the Green Party, and Mr Vaughan from Labour are Stephen Rutherford of the Lib Dems and UKIP’s Duncan Strachan.

The candidates are expected to be grilled on a whole host of matters once the election campaign starts in earnest again.

Mr Rutherford has said he believes in an open, fair and tolerant Britain and wants to send a clear message to the Tory’s ‘hard Brexit’ and on public services, whereas former police and crime commissioner candiate Mr Strachan wants to focus on ensuring the country leaves the EU as soon as possible.