York prepares… City makes plans to host pivotal moment in Election 2017

The lighting gantry is in place for BBC Question Time at the University of York. Photograph: Peter Rodgers
1 Jun 2017 @ 7.46 pm
| News, Politics

York is preparing to host what could be the biggest moment in a fascinating General Election campaign.

Both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are heading to the city for a special live Question Time on Friday night.

The programme is being broadcast on BBC1 from the University of York.

It’s all systems go to get everything shipshape in time, as the battle to be our next Prime Minister reaches a critical moment.

With the gap in the polls closing with less than a week to go, there is a lot riding on the TV appearance for both the Prime Minister and Labour leader.

Hundreds expected

Question Time Live is being broadcast between 8.30pm and 10pm at the Ron Cooke Hub, part of the university’s Heslington East campus.

The two leaders will not go head to head, but will be questioned by the same audience consecutively. David Dimbleby will chair.

North Yorkshire Police are expecting hundreds of people to turn up.

As well as the invited audience, protesters are expected to make their voices heard outside the venue. Organisers of the demo against Theresa May say as many as 500 could take part.

Jeremy Corbyn at a rally in York earlier in the campaign. Photograph: YorkMix

The police have been liaising with the BBC, the University of York and the House of Commons during the planning process.

Neighbourhood policing commander for York Superintendent Adam Thomson said: “We are committed to ensuring a safe and secure event for all those who attend, as well as minimising any disruption to the wider public.

“To provide extra public reassurance, North Yorkshire Police will have a significant number of officers on duty in the York area during the event.”

The Prime Minister presses a point at the York Barbican last month

He said the police were aware of the protest:

We are also mindful of the potential for political demonstrations connected to the General Election campaign.

As ever, the police will be on hand to facilitate peaceful protest. In the event of any disorder or criminal behaviour, we will deal with it in a proportionate and justified manner.

Follow @NYorksPolice on Twitter for updates about the policing operation surrounding the event.

The eyes of the country will be on York

Vice-Chancellor Professor Koen Lamberts. Photograph: University of York

The University of York’s vice-chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts, said it was the perfect location for such a debate.

“The university has a long and proud history of encouraging respectful debate and discussion amongst its students, academics and the wider community.

“We are delighted to be hosting Question Time from the Ron Cooke hub, a fabulous state-of-the-art building designed to encourage discussion and interaction.”

He said it was an exciting moment for the city.

With just days to go before polling day, the eyes of the country will be on the two leaders here at York.

It promises to be a fascinating encounter in what could be one of the defining moments of the general election.