Campus at the centre of Stoke by-election debate

“We have recently made Stoke-on-Trent our main City campus and will be working closely with Gareth to make sure that government is aware of the area's great strengths and ambitions to be at the forefront of a new cultural and digital revolution.”

Professor Liz Barnes, Staffordshire University Vice Chancellor

Following a stormy day at the polls, Stoke Central awoke to news that Labour candidate Gareth Snell has been elected as new MP for the constituency.

Gareth polled 7,853 votes in the by-election, topping his main rivals UKIP and the Conservatives by more than 2,500 - although things didn't go all Labour's way as the party lost their seat to the Conservatives in the Copeland by-election.

Following the close of the polls at 10pm, students and staff of the University got to witness the political events of the night unfold during a live recording of BBC Question Time which took place on the Stoke-on-Trent campus.

Staffordshire University honorary graduate Peter Coates, Chairman of Stoke City Football Club was among the panellists which included Education Minister Justine Greening, Shadow Education Minister Angela Rayner, UKIP MP Douglas Carswell and political journalist Isabel Oakeshott.

The panel fielded audience questions on whether Jeremy Corbyn's Labour represented the working class; whether a by-election defeat for UKIP spelled the end for the party; whether Tony Blair's intervention on Brexit was a help or a hindrance; what needed to be done to improve education and whether it was ever right to compensate suspected terrorists.

Although by-election results were not announced until the early hours of the morning, UKIP spokesman Douglas Carswell appeared to concede defeat during the Question Time debate.

Commenting afterwards, first year broadcast journalism student Hannah Tully, 18, said: “It was really cool to be there and really nice to hear what politically minded people in this area thought. Stoke-on-Trent people should be proud. There were some very intelligent people in the audience.”

Although Hannah voted Green Party, anticipating a Labour win, she added: “I think that it's good because although I didn't vote Labour it's much better than a vote for UKIP.”

Commenting on the outcome Staffordshire University Vice Chancellor Professor Liz Barnes said: “As a connected University, it is vital that we are working with our MPs to support the development of our community and address problems faced. We have a proud heritage of transforming lives and careers through Higher Education.

“We have recently made Stoke-on-Trent our main City campus and will be working closely with Gareth to make sure that government is aware of the area's great strengths and ambitions to be at the forefront of a new cultural and digital revolution.”

Contact

Maria Scrivens
Media Relations Manager
Marketing and Public Relations
L600, Flaxman Building
College Road
Stoke-on-Trent
ST4 2DE
t: +44 (0)1782 294375
m: 07766 520339
e: m.c.scrivens@staffs.ac.uk