UK party leaders to take part in 'fourth debate'

In what is being billed as 'the fourth debate', the UK party leaders will address a 'peoples' assembly' of 2,500 representatives from faith and community groups on Monday afternoon to argue that theirs would be the best Government for civil society.

The CitizensUK General Election Assembly on 3 May, three days before the nation goes to the polls in one of the tightest-ever races in British electoral history, will be the largest public gathering of the general election campaign, and the last time that David Cameron, Nick Clegg and a senior Labour representative (to be confirmed) will seek from the same stage public endorsement for their platforms.

The CitizensUK General Election Assembly in central London brings together people from more than 150 member organisations  -- mostly churches, mosques, and schools -- to call for political recognition for civil society. The leaders will be asked to respond to a "People's Manifesto" including a call for extending the living wage, an end to child detention, a cap on interest rates and a pathway to citizenship for long-term undocumented migrants. At the heart of the manifesto is a call for the future prime minister to attend regular "citizens' assemblies."

CitizensUK is the national home of community organising. London Citizens is the largest and best-known CitizensUK affiliate, but there will be delegations from new peoples' organisations in Oxford and Milton Keynes. Also present will be delegations from 77 constituencies nationwide, a number of them key marginals.

As a result of CitizensUK campaigns, the Labour Party committed to the Living Wage in their Manifesto, as Boris Johnson did in 2008; both Labour and the Liberal-Democrats have pledged to curb excess interest rates following London Citizens' Barbican assembly last year. As result of the CitizensUK Strangers into Citizens campaign, the Liberal-Democrats agreed in 2007 to a plan to regularise long-term undocumented migrants.

None of the parties is likely to agree to all six items of the manifesto but some movement is likely. The calls stem from months and in some cases years of assemblies and public actions, and have been voted on at democratic local assemblies across the Citizens network.

There will be no questions from the floor. Rather than debating with each other on stage, the party leaders will address the assembly consecutively for ten minutes each, before being quizzed by chairs drawn from Citizens UK member institutions on
the specific asks in the six-point agenda, following powerful personal testimonies.

The event will also includel be music and reflections.

The Assembly comes at the end of a "Day of Action for Civil Society" including a Mass for Migrants at Westminster Cathedral and rallies in Chinatown and Brick Lane.

To download the Peoples' Manifesto and for other details, see:

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