Published: 00:00, 30 January 2015
| Updated: 09:56, 30 January 2015
The only female prospective parliamentary candidate in South Thanet has spoken out over the exclusion of women from the Ramsgate Round Table hustings at The Pavilion in Broadstairs last Wednesday.
Ruth Bailey, who is standing for the Manston Airport Independent Party in May’s general election, said: “Many still view women as second-class citizens when it comes to politics and that is unacceptable.
“Originally contact was made with my campaign manager, Mark Cornwell, saying that they would like me at the meeting to talk about Manston Airport.
“However they later decided against inviting me because of ‘space issues’.
“Both Will Scobie and Ian Driver boycotted the meeting because of the exclusion of any women.
“Good on them for making a stand if this was truly their reason.
“Although I’m appalled that in the 21st century the only women there were serving drinks, the bigger worry in my mind is the sidelining of minority parties at all main hustings.
“I realise that not all parties can be invited to every hustings because of the number involved but the candidates that are representing serious issues should be afforded the courtesy of being heard.
“After all we are deemed to be participating in a democratic exercise.”
Ramsgate Round Table former member Paul McGuirk helped organise the evening.
He said: “We raised £700 for the RNLI at the hustings and we sold the maximum amount of tickets, we were not deliberately excluding any parties.
“That was part of the plan and the other part was to promote the Round Table as an organisation.
“It is an organisation for young men to put back into the community and we raise a lot for charity.
“We were looking to use the event as an advert for the round table as a whole to promote membership and highlight the great work it does.
“The idea was not to exclude women - the club is very inclusive.
“It isn’t a sexist organisation and we have a ladies circle.
“Just last year we raised £5,000 on a bike ride through Brighton for Caring for Connor and wives and girlfriends were involved - they are an integral part of what we do.
“The fact is there was limited space at The Pavilion.”
Ms Bailey, who has lived in Broadstairs for eight years, feels so strongly about saving Manston Airport that she decided to form the political party in November last year.
The neutral one-issue party aims to use the platform of the election to raise the profile of the airport to a national level.
The mother-of-three said: “This is a prime opportunity to help highlight our campaign to save Manston. The spotlight is on Thanet for this election.”
There will be a select committee gathering in the House of Commons to investigate the viability of the airport on Monday.
The primary school teacher said: “There is a Save Manston Airport (SMA) coach going and RiverOak will be attending as well and hopefully we’ll have a favourable outcome.
“The closure of the airport is an injustice to the people of Thanet, an injustice to those who served there in the RAF and an injustice to our nation.
“I can’t believe Thanet District Council are wilfully negligent in the airport’s future.”