‘Cowardly’ Clegg’s only pre-election debate will be closed to the public

It’s going to be held at a secret location

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The Sheffield Hallam MP’s only live election debate in his constituency before the General Election will be held in front of a private, select audience at a secret location in town.

It will be closed to both the public and media, and only put online later that evening.

Members of the public will be invited to email in questions in the run up to the debate, but there will be no questions from the floor.

The debate will only be streamed later that day

The debate will only be streamed later that day

The Star, who are hosting the debate, said they’d already had several requests from the media to attend, and had “said no to them all.”

There are several other debates taking place among the other Sheffield candidates, which Clegg will instead be sending a representative to.

Oliver Coppard, the Labour candidate, said: “I’ve been pushing Nick Clegg to take part in a debate with me for the past 18 months, and this is the only one he’s agreed to. Completely private and only an hour long.

“The questions won’t even be from the floor, they’re completely dictated by The Star.

“It’s a betrayal to his voters. If you’re asking people to vote for you then you should be happy to explain to them why they should, and to be publicly challenged by other candidates in a debate.”

Students occupying Clegg's office at the start of the month

Students occupying Clegg’s office at the start of the month

“Instead he’s running away from it, and it’s cowardly,” he continued.

“He needs to agree to a public debate to give everyone the opportunity, including students, to properly hear out and question the candidates.

“That’s what an election is about and it’s time he submitted to the challenge.”