What is happening to democracy in Chipping Barnet? It is a centuries-old British tradition that parliamentary candidates of rival paries appear together on public platforms for hustings, enabling the voters to throw questions at them.

Of the four hustings events scheduled in Chipping Barnet, three have been cancelled because of difficulties in getting the Conservative candidate to be available along with the others. I am told that this problem with Tory incumbents has also arisen in some neighbouring constituencies.

What is peculiar about Chipping Barnet is that the same infection has now spread to the Labour Party. Have they just given up, assuming that the 12,000 majority for the Tories at the last election is just impregnable? This would enable them to concentrate their resources on perhaps more fruitful territory nearby. Or has Labour, like the Conservatives, become painfully aware that their traditional vote here is eking away to other parties, for whom they don’t wish to encourage yet more publicity?

I thank the churches, synagogues and local groups for their valiant efforts to organise public events. One hustings remains – Thursday, April 30 at 7.30pm at St John the Baptist C of E Church in Barnet High Street. I challenge my Tory and Labour opponents to be there.

Victor Kaye

UKIP Parliamentary Candidate for Chipping Barnet