Gita Bapat takes part in Election Hustings

27 Apr 2024
X by X Hustings

Liberal Democrat Candidate, Gita Bapat, attended two hustings this week.

The first in her role as Liberal Democrat London Assembly candidate for Bexley and Bromley was on 23 April and was organised by Bromley Experts by Experience. Bromley X by X is a deaf and disabled persons’ organisation, based in Bromley, that campaigns on disabled issues and supports deaf and disabled residents across the region.

The second hustings on 24 April was for candidates for the Shortlands & Park Langley by-election, organised jointly by the Ravensbourne Valley Residents’ Association and the Shortlands Residents’ Association.  

The X by X hustings focussed on a wide range of issues faced by deaf and disabled people. Residents’ concerns included crime, housing, and transport. Fortunately, these issues are at the heart of the Liberal Democrats’ policy proposals for London, and Gita was able to reassure those present that she and the London team have a plan to address their concerns in a way that will be put disabled people at the heart of the decision-making structure.

Other issues raised included access to open spaces and the lack of accessible public toilets across our borough. Gita agreed that the record of the Labour mayor and Bromley's Conservative Council has been woeful, and that the Liberal Democrats, if elected, will work hard to address these issues.

Gita said: "We have had disability legislation for almost 30 years now, so we already have a body of knowledge on which to draw. It’s just not good enough that those in charge aren’t systematically incorporating deaf and disabled people’s needs as an integral part of their decision-making. I have had a great deal of experience of how the social model of disability disadvantages people and yet I still learned a lot at the hustings. It highlights how important it is to listen to the individual concerns of residents from all sections of society.”

The second hustings for the Shortlands & Park Langley by-election candidates was attended by 4 of the six candidates; Gita Bapat for the Liberal Democrats, Edward Apostolides for Reform, Brendan Donegan, an Independent, and Charlotte Grievson for Labour.

The hustings was a lively event, with each candidate invited to speak about their priorities and to face questions from the audience. Gita talked about having been born and brought up in Bromley and how she has raised her children here. She spoke about her commitment to the local area and representing people in the ward who often feel their voice is ignored in local issues. She told the audience how passionate she felt about protecting Bromley’s identity and cultural assets, and how important it was to support our voluntary organisations, many of whom had had their funding cut back or removed completely recently.

There was a lively discussion about different issues including air pollution, road safety and traffic speed, the protection of our environment, council funding and the shortage of affordable housing in Bromley. Gita reflects “Though preparing for my first hustings week was somewhat nerve-wracking, it’s been an important opportunity to engage with the concerns of my local friends and neighbours and present a more authentic and people-centred campaign."


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