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Hustings: what you need to know

The UK election brings an opportunity for churches to serve their communities and wider society by running a hustings.

Written by Tearfund | 01 May 2024

A group of people sat on chairs with notebooks on their laps.

Credit: Sincerely Media/Unsplash

Hustings are public meetings where people can ask questions and listen directly to the responses of their local candidates. For many years, churches across the country have worked together to run these popular events.

By running hustings, churches can help overcome the disconnection that many voters feel with politics. People can raise issues that are important to them, and make sure that their political representatives are aware of their priorities. It’s also an opportunity for churches to work together in unity for the good of their local area.

Here are some of the comments we’ve received from Tearfund supporters following past hustings:

‘It was interesting to hear from the candidates; they each got a set time to speak and then to answer questions. The format was like “Any Questions’ on [BBC] Radio 4. A hustings gives every party the opportunity to present their position. Questions also reveal the views of local people; it’s good to hear what they are, and to let the future MP know them. I’d recommend going to a hustings if you can.’ – Karen, Edinburgh

‘I found the hustings very helpful in thinking about who to vote for. Even though I didn’t ask a question myself, I enjoyed listening to others' questions. There were a variety of questions ranging from funding for local schools to climate change and immigration. The hustings had a lively yet comfortable atmosphere. People were eager to show what they were passionate about, with some cheers and claps, but there was respect for all.’ – Beth, Aberystwyth

‘A positive experience and an opportunity to emphasise the importance of engagement by Christians in politics… The atmosphere was warm and friendly. We set the tone and laid out our ground rules for debate and questioning. Each candidate was given 60 seconds to answer each question. Overall it was certainly useful and helped me to decide which way to vote.’ – Joy, Lincoln, who has previously organised a hustings

So, how can you get involved?

1. Attend a hustings

Find out if there is a hustings scheduled near you on the Churches Together website or search online for local events. Go along and encourage others to join you.

If you want to ask a question, spend some time thinking about the wording: you may need to submit it in advance. This is a great opportunity to make sure candidates are considering key issues such as international aid and climate change. Here are a couple of sample questions on those subjects:

I’m concerned about climate change and the poverty it’s causing around the world. What plans do you have to help the UK stop our contribution to the climate crisis, and lead internationally in moving away from fossil fuels as fast as possible?

I’ve been concerned to see how the UK's international development work has diminished recently. How will your party restore that work which positively transforms lives and enables people to lift themselves out of poverty?

2. Run a hustings

Various Christian organisations produce resources to help churches run hustings. You could pass these on to your church or your local Churches Together organisation and encourage them to consider organising a hustings.

If you organise a hustings or have any questions, please email us at [email protected]. We would love to support you as you serve your local community.

For more guidance on how to get involved with the election, take a look at our general election webpage.

Finally let’s continue to engage with the election prayerfully and humbly, as we seek to uphold the cause of people living in poverty.

‘The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.’ 1 Timothy 2:1–3

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Written by  Tearfund

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