Stephen Hammond will attend another event being organised by local churches
Residents in Merton will have their chance to grill election candidates on everything environment related in two hustings events organised by the local Extinction Rebellion (XR) branch.
On Wednesday (December 4), the first event is planned for the Wimbledon constituency from 7.30pm at Wimbledon Congregational Church.
But it looks like Conservative Stephen Hammond (pictured above, who is standing for re-election will not be on the panel.
He wanted to see the environment hustings combined with another one which is scheduled for the week before the election by Wimbledon churches.
Mr Hammond said: “I am always willing to listen to local residents and answer questions whether on the doorstep or attending local events.
“In previous General Election campaigns there has been one big hustings event in the Wimbledon constituency which generated a high level of interest and a good attendance.
“I really hope that XR and the churches can agree on a combined hustings to ensure a really successful event and give undecided voters a chance to hear from all the candidates.”
His Labour opponent in the election on December 12, Jackie Schneider, described his non-attendance as “really, really disappointing”.
She said: “It is a huge issue that residents have an absolute right to ask people who want office what their position is.
“I am delighted that this is being raised and we are having a whole session to deal with climate issues.
“So I am sad that Stephen is not able to come. When I was asked I said whatever date they came up with I would do. For me it is a top priority.
“There are no easy answers but we have to be prepared to talk about it.”
Wimbledon parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats, Paul Kohler, agreed that Mr Hammond should attend the climate hustings.
He said: “It shows he is just following Boris Johnson’s lead. The fact he was willing to come if they combined the two hustings shows that he is available on that date.
“Climate change is more important than Brexit for me.”
It has now been confirmed that the two hustings will be taking place separately.
The Wimbledon Churches hustings is scheduled for Tuesday, December 10 from 8pm at Holy Trinity Church in Wimbledon.
In Merton’s other parliamentary constituency of Mitcham and Morden, Merton XR has planned a hustings on Monday, December 9 at Vestry Hall in London Road, Mitcham.
It will start from 7.15pm and all candidates are set to attend.
Another closed hustings for the borough’s students is being hosted by Merton College on December 3.
Visit www.merton.tv for more details on all four hustings events and to book a free ticket.
By Tara O'Connor, Local Democracy Reporter
November 29, 2019