Hustings events are, for many political hopefuls, a necessary evil in the quest for election or re-election. For most of those hopefuls, there is hardly any point in their turning up, so slim are the chances of swaying the audience sufficiently to get themselves returned to Parliament. For others, there is the constant peril of one of those pesky voters tripping them up on the journey to that all too minor fame and fortune.
The encounters with those pesky voters can occur even in the safest seats. And if an opponent scents a weakness, events can get more than a little tasty. One place where matters got tasty last night was in the constituency of Dominic “cash flow problem” Raab, who claims to be the Foreign Secretary, such is the paucity of talent available to alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.
Donald, where's yer hairspray?
Raab represents Esher and Walton. His majority in 2017 was over 23,000. The seat is in the ultra-safe category. But that does not guarantee that hustings events will be an easy thing to do, and so it proved at East Molesey last night, when the family of Harry Dunn, killed in a road accident involving Anne Sacoolas, a US citizen who claimed diplomatic immunity she may not have merited, before being allowed to return to the States.
The hustings event was open to the public. Tim Dunn and Charlotte Charles presented themselves at the door, and were refused entry. That the event was standing room only appeared to be the problem: one of those already in the hall volunteered to leave, so Harry Dunn’s parents could come in. But despite it being open to the public, they were refused entry. So others in the hall spoke up for them.
One of those offering to leave told “We have offered to leave to allow Harry Dunn’s parents into the hustings but security has refused … CONFIRMED: It is [Dominic Raab]’s security that will not allow Harry Dunn’s family into the hustings. Nobody coming in even in exchange for volunteers coming out. Why is [Dominic Raab]’s security controlling hustings attendance at a 4-party hustings event?”. Why indeed?
Lewis Goodall of Sky News appeared to confirm that view. “No room in the church for the hustings event. Dozens still outside. Changing: ‘LET US IN!’, including the family of Harry Dunn who want to speak to Dominic Raab … Someone has left to allow Harry Dunn’s father into the event but apparently security aren’t allowing him in”.
The Guardian has now reported that “Raab was heckled during his final address at a hustings in East Molesey, Surrey, on Monday evening, with one woman standing up to ask him about Dunn, whose family and friends were kept outside for the duration of the event due to purported concerns about overcrowding. Raab was later confronted by Tim Dunn, Harry’s father, and friends of the late 19-year-old as he left the building and was ushered into his official car”. He appeared to ignore protesters as he was driven away.
Raab’s excuse will no doubt be security concerns; he is, after all, a senior Government minister. But the impression given to Harry Dunn’s parents and friends, and all others of a non-partisan nature, is of a politician aloof and uncaring in a family’s moment of grief.
Sadly for the protesters, Raab need not worry about being re-elected. Not a good look.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at