People have expressed anger over the failure of Thanet South MP Laura Sandys to appear at a special Thanet Question Time meeting held last Friday (November 8) in Broadstairs.

Ms Sandys had agreed to be on the panel of Thanet Question Time several weeks ago, but cried off the day before the meeting was due to go ahead.

She emailed an apology for her non-appearance, citing parliamentary business and the need to see an unnamed potential investor in Thanet.

Will Scobie, her Labour challenger at the next election, did appear and the meeting went ahead.

But audience member Filiz MacNamara said: “I am furious Laura Sandys didn’t appear. She is our MP. This was a great opportunity to see her in debate with her Labour rival. She should have been there. Is she afraid of Scobie or something?”

One of the meeting’s organisers, Christine Tongue, said: “I’m very disappointed Laura didn’t come, especially as we held the meeting on a date agreed some weeks ago with her.

“But she has said she will come to a future meeting and I hope she will hold to her word. These sorts of meetings are vital to a healthy local democracy.”

The meeting, which concentrated on environmental issues in Thanet, was very well attended. Topics discussed included over-building, Manston Airport and the controversy over the Ramsgate’s Royal Pavilion.



  1. It was a shame Laura Sandys had to cancel at short notice ,HOWEVER cll Martin Wise was in the hall standing at the back for the entire meeting, why did he not come forward to take her place

  2. A bit unfair, Christine, because Laura Sandys normally comes down from London on Thursday evenings and has Fridays in her constituency, which would have been her expectation when she accepted your invite. She was not to know then that she would have to stay up in London on the Friday for the EU referendum debate and she did tender her apologies.

    I think if you want people from the right of politics to attend you need to stop looking for reasons to attack them if they do show up, as Cllrs Bayford and Wise were on the blogs, and likewise, as with Laura Sandys, if they don’t. A comparison with Will Scobie is most unfair for Will is currently an unemployed councillor, hardly a full time job, whereas Laura Sandys is an MP with many demands on her time.

  3. I was very disappointed when Laura Sandys couldn’t make the Question Time meeting but I quite understand about unexpected political commitments. I was very pleased to see Bob Bayford there and I certainly haven’t attacked either him or Martin Wise on any blog, or elsewhere. Everyone is welcome at Red Hall meetings.

    I made no comparison whatsoever between Laura and Will Scobie. You may be confusing me with a member of the audience who did comment on this.

    I really hope Laura will be able to come to a future meeting and we’ve already invited her to do so.
    Christine Tongue

    1. Christine, I agree it was not you, but over on Thanetonline there were some scathing comments about Bob Bayford and Martin Wise from someone who was there as, indeed, it was a member of the audience who made the comparison.

      As you know I also had hoped to be there and I should like to come to one in the future. The concern is, however, that some of your regulars seem to think it is just for socialists. One of the comments, in fact, on Thanetonline was that the commentator did not know that Bob Bayford and Martin Wise were socialist so, effectively, why were they there.

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