A POLITICAL platform branded a “hustings with a difference” took place in Bingley today to great acclaim from attendees.

Shipley Feminist Zealots group had invited Shipley’s four parliamentary candidates Labour's Steve Clapcote; Conservative Philip Davies; Sophie Walker, of the Women’s Equality Party, and Liberal Democrat Caroline Jones, to an informal open gathering at the town's arts centre.

Organiser Jenny Wilson said: “We wanted to create a political hustings-type gathering with a difference where people could come along and ask all four candidates questions and listen to what they had to say, rather than the traditional hustings where there are speakers and arguments.

“We didn’t want anything adversarial and this way people could sit around at ease, drink tea and enjoy a piece of cake.

"We even had a creche for young parents to bring their children along.

“We’re quite a new group attended by both men and women.

"Mr Davies once said women zealots want their cake and eat it so we thought we would organise a civilised event with tea and cakes and that’s what we did.

“There have been 30 or 40 people come through the doors and it seems to have gone well.

"There were four tables and each candidate had 18 minutes to spend at each table to chat to people and answer their questions.”

Mrs Jones said: “It thought it was excellent. It worked really well.

"There was chance to speak to people directly in a friendly way. People told me their concerns about the Aire Valley incinerator, of traffic problems locally as well as the implications of Brexit.

"They also voiced their concerns about social care."

Mr Davies said he too enjoyed the occasion.

“It’s been very good. I’ve never been to this type of hustings before and perhaps would have liked a little longer to chat at each table but I think it was good.

"People wanted to speak of both local and national matters and I got some good feedback."

Ms Walker, standing for the Women’s Equality Party, said she had received positive feedback also.

“People have shown to me that they are fully committed to this election despite the uncertain national picture.

“They spoke of their concerns for social care and the proposed funding for universal child care.

"People are thinking about the impact all these decisions will have and it was good to speak to them about these concerns.

“I thought today’s hustings was a good way of getting around and having in-depth conversations in an informal atmosphere.

"Sometimes people are reluctant to stand up and put their hand up to speak at large gatherings so this gave them that opportunity.”

One member of the public, Peter Jeffrey-Bourne, who was helping out at the event, said: “I thought it worked very well. It was different to the usual hustings and people could ask more questions than they normally would.”

Mr Clapcote was unable to stay after the meeting to talk to the Telegraph & Argus.

A second hustings in the same format was taking place at Baildon Community Link tonight.