Students at the University of Nottingham are being invited to attend a Question Time panel debate at 6pm evening, but there will be one glaring omission: no one from UKIP will be speaking.
The panel features the Conservative MP Kenneth Clarke, the Labour MP Chris Leslie, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Julia Cambridge, and Green MEP candidate Katharina Boettge.
Lee Waters, a candidate for UKIP’s NEC has been calling on the panelists to boycott the event as no offer of representation was made to UKIP. According to his twitterfeed, when he asked the organisers whether UKIP members could attend, he says he was told that they could not.
— Lee Waters (@LeeWatersUKIP) October 25, 2013
UKIP regularly polls in third place nationally, ahead of the Liberal Democrats, with UKIP gaining the support of around 12% of the population. The Green Party fare even worse – their figures aren’t recorded by standard in the day to day polling takes place, so we have to go all the way back to the 2010 General Election to get a measure of their support: they gained just 0.9% of the popular vote.
UKIP Daily talked to one of the event’s organisers this afternoon to ask whether UKIP members were being excluded from the audience, and why a representative of UKIP hadn’t been invited to speak.
We were told:
“UKIP don’t currently have a society on campus. All the speakers were invited through their societies, so it was impossible for us to invite UKIP. Students who also happen to be members of UKIP are welcome to attend the debate, and of course can start a society if they wish. But any troublemakers will not be allowed to stay within the audience.”
We then asked whether it might have been a good idea for the organisers to themselves invite a speaker, in the interests of fairness. The answer?
“But all the speakers were being organised through their societies.”
Perhaps a case of student union naivety then – although it does beg the question: why doesn’t UKIP have a student society in Nottingham?