The Creative Industries Federation has decided to withdraw from hosting its planned general election event with Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson of the Labour party, scheduled to take place in Hull on Monday May 22.
We had previously agreed with the four largest parties at Westminster – the Conservatives, Labour, SNP and Liberal Democrats – that we would provide an opportunity for each to set out its stall on the creative industries, the arts and cultural education. This would include a short speech by a senior party representative and then a rigorous question and answer session with Fed members and partners.
The series began in London on Wednesday with Matt Hancock, the Digital and Cultural Minister, for the Conservatives. His appearance included nearly one hour of detailed questions on Brexit, the industrial strategy, education in schools, skills, intellectual property, the role of digital and more.
As Labour informed us that they were no longer able to devote a similar amount of time to questioning as the other parties have agreed to, we invited them to reconsider. When we could not agree, we had no choice but to pull out of the event.
The Federation – the national organisation for all the UK’s creative industries, cultural education and arts – has a track record for independence and fearlessness. We are, however, non-partisan. We cannot provide a backdrop for campaign events which do not offer the opportunity for proper scrutiny.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused to those planning to attend. We understand Labour plans to go ahead with the event on Monday and if you still wish to attend we suggest you contact the party directly. Our events with the Liberal Democrats next Tuesday and the SNP next Friday will go ahead as planned.