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Rye gives thumbs up to 'Any Questions?'

August 18, 2009 7:37 AM

Rye residents gave Radio 4's 'Any Questions?' programme a thunderous round of applause as the show finished just before nine o'clock on Friday night at Rye College.

Locals had been treated to an entertaining debate with a wide range of questions: from the first, about the American Right and the NHS, to John Izod's final question about women's boxing and the London Olympics.

Bob Crow (supremo of the RMT Union) and Toby Young (journalist and author) locked horns over the Conservative Party's intentions regarding a privatised NHS. Oliver Walston (a Cambridgeshire farmer and one-time political advisor to Labour Cabinet Minister George Brown) and Dr Sarah Churchwell (an American Studies academic from the University of East Anglia) argued about the ethics of women wrestling in mud, or olive oil, at future Olympic Games'.

Rye Town Councillor Mary Smith got her question in. She asked 'How much is an MP worth?', following the much-criticised comments by Conservative Party bigwig Alan Duncan MP, earlier in the week.

Nick Perry, Liberal Democrat parliamentary campaigner for Hastings and Rye, joined the fun, but didn't get to ask a question.

Speaking afterwards he said, "What a terrific evening. Rye gave the panel some brilliant questions. It's great that the programme came to the town, and fantastic that it was a free event.

"The most heartening part of the evening for me was the warm up...

"Editor Alice Feinstein got us in the mood... She asked us to do a bit of practice cheering and heckling. She asked us what our reaction would be if a General Election was called and Lord Mandelson was a candidate for Prime Minister. The audience gave a rousing pantomime 'Boo!'

"And then she asked what we'd do if David Cameron resigned tomorrow, and there was a great big cheer!

"It made me extremely proud of Rye townsfolk!" said Nick.