A hustings for young voters organised by a community body has been cancelled after the Conservative candidate withdrew.

The panel event organised by the Board of Deputies was supposed to feature political representatives from the three major parties, including Labour and Conservative candidates in Hendon.

However, Tory politician Matthew Offord withdrew from the event, scheduled to take place on May 22, citing a clash in his diary.

His campaign staff claim that the details of hustings were provisionally put in his diary, but organisers never confirmed “further details as we were promised”. They confirmed another event for that same night.

But rival candidates criticised Offord’s withdrawal. Hi Labour rival Mike Katz said: “It’s a shame that the Board has had to cancel its hustings at JFS because Mr Offord has pulled out at short notice. It was really good opportunity to engage with young Jewish voters and encourage them to get involved – we know young people have the worst turnout levels.
Perhaps he’s worried that Labour’s plans to abolish Uni tuition fees and reintroduce maintenance grants will prove too popular amongst the audience!”

Lib Dem peer Lord Monroe Palmer, who is president of the party’s Friends of Israel group also hit out at Offord’s withdrawal, accusing him of “running scared”. He says it’s “Unfair to all the students who were coming to the debate at JFS”.

Matthew Offord added, that he’s ‘very much looking forward’ to attending a hustings event on 25 May, organised by the London Jewish Forum in partnership with Jewish News.