Guernsey Press

Guernsey Press to bring back traditional hustings

Hustings for all candidates are to return for next year’s general election of deputies.

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Candidates facing the public in a hustings ahead of the 2016 election. (33281919)

They will face voters’ questions at a series of evening hustings hosted by the Guernsey Press in the run-up to polling day on 18 June 2025.

Every candidate will be invited to appear once in front of a studio audience of voters and each event will also be streamed online.

Hustings held under the previous district electoral system often attracted large crowds, but at the first island-wide general election, held in 2020, voters were denied the chance to see all their candidates speaking publicly and answering questions without notice.

Organising hustings meetings is part of the Guernsey Press’s commitment to provide unrivalled coverage of next year’s general election, in response to voters’ concerns about how effectively candidates can be tested and assessed under the current island-wide electoral system.

‘It was clear from the run-up to the election in 2020 that the established routes for contact with candidates were eroding quickly,’ said Guernsey Press editor James Falla.

‘Traditional methods, such as visiting households to speak to most voters on the doorstep, were effectively impossible, but perhaps missed most of all were traditional parish or district hustings.

‘There were a handful of hustings meetings, but only a small number of candidates were involved, and in some cases they already knew they shared similar views on issues.

‘They were quite unlike the old hustings meetings, which really tested candidates’ mettle, and we feel our readers and voters generally want to have that opportunity again.’

The States Assembly and Constitution Committee is currently considering proposals for significant reductions in candidates’ spending limits, which could place further restrictions on communication with voters ahead of next year’s election.

Some deputies favour the move to help less affluent candidates. But others worry it would curtail campaign advertising and possibly prevent candidates from posting their own manifestos to voters despite other means of direct communication having been made more difficult since the adoption of island-wide voting for all deputies’ seats.

‘We believe that a structured hustings system, with an invited audience and the opportunity for them to pose questions, while also having sessions streamed and available to watch on demand, is the best approach currently available for candidates and voters,’ said Mr Falla.

‘We look forward to inviting candidates to take a seat, and to seeing readers and the public get involved by attending or putting questions to the candidates.’

Update 10am Friday 31 May: It is not the Guernsey Press' intention to 'invite' an audience, but to invite people to apply for free tickets to attend, as there will be a limit on places at each session.