Rochester and Strood by-election: Last night at the Conservative public meeting

Last night 38 Degrees members went along to a public meeting in Rochester. Together, we questioned the Conservative election candidates on the issues we care about. It was part of the ‘open primary’ process – to meet the candidates. Next everyone in Rochester and Strood is getting a chance to vote on the Conservative candidate who stands in the election.

Regardless of which party 38 Degrees members are planning to vote for, it was a great opportunity to make sure the candidates know the issues we care about.

Rochester Conservative hustings

Together, we decided on questions to ask the candidates before hand. We’d written them down on post-it notes to give us confidence when we stood up in the room.

One 38 Degrees member asked a question about the treatment of disabled people. She asked what the candidates planned to do to make sure disabled people were respected in the community – after Lord Freud’s comments earlier that day.

Another member wanted to know where the candidates stood on Guantanamo bay. It all got a bit heated when the chairperson tried to stop him asking his question. When the candidates did respond, one said they hadn’t followed the issue closely, while the other said America had dealt with Guantanamo badly.

All in all it was a great evening – and the first meet-up of 38 Degrees members in Rochester. Everyone was really happy to meet each other and keen to plan next steps.

You can read about what the candidates said on the 38 Degrees Twitter – where the whole meeting was ‘live tweeted’.

What do you think 38 Degrees members should do next to get more involved in the ‘open primary’ vote for a Conservative candidate? Email rochesterstrood@38degrees.org.uk with you ideas.

The next meet-up of 38 Degrees members in Rochester and Strood is happening tonight! We’ll be meeting at the King’s Head pub on the High Street at 7pm. Everyone is welcome! It would be helpful if you could RSVP here if you’re planning on coming along, so the staff team has a rough idea of number.