A general election candidate standing in one of the Southampton seats has spoken out over not being part of the main panel at a hustings.

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate in Southampton Test Maggie Fricker said everyone had not been treated equally at the event organised by Churches Together in Shirley.

The hustings at St James’ by the Park on Monday, June 24, featured a question time panel with the candidates from the five parties polling the highest – Conservative, Green, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Reform UK.

Ms Fricker and Workers Party candidate Wajahat Shaukat were invited to give a short speech after the main panel session.

Before delivering her statement, Ms Fricker told the audience: “We have protested that not all candidates have been treated equally in this hustings unlike other hustings across the city.

“As a shop steward and a working class woman, I do have some experience of middle class men not respecting my right to speak.”

At the start of the hustings, vicar Dan Clark said there were more candidates standing in the constituency than usual.

He said he had made the decision to have the five-person panel after “careful thought and taking on feedback from previous hustings I have chaired with more than normal number of candidates”.

Rev Clark said: “Obviously that’s a decision that hasn’t been popular with them but I know I am within my rights to make that decision and that’s the decision I am going to stick with, rightly or wrongly.”

In her statement, Ms Fricker said TUSC was different to all of the other candidates. She said they stood alone against the establishment politicians to demand an end to the war in Gaza.

“We are a coalition of trade union activists, socialists and local campaigners against cuts to our services,” Ms Fricker said. “That includes our successful campaign to save St Mary’s Leisure Centre and our support for fair funding for schools.”

“We have and will support workers fighting back, taking strike action across the city on the railways, job centre, schools and in our NHS.”

She said nationally there were now 11 million people facing food insecurity but none of the five candidates on the panel had offered an alternative.

TUSC say they would introduce a £15 an hour minimum wage, renationalise mail, rail, water and the energy companies, and return the £500million that the group says was “stolen” from Southampton by Conservative funding cuts.

Ms Fricker, who is a health worker, said: “People are becoming sicker. We have 7.5 million [people] on waiting lists. A hundred thousand staff shortages. Labour ask us to work more overtime, evenings and weekends but we are already doing that.

“We say kick out the private profiteers and fully fund our NHS. None of this will come with the next government. We will have to fight for it.”

Workers Party candidate Mr Shaukat was unable to attend the meeting due to childcare commitments, the vicar said.

A representative called Dee speaking on his behalf said the Workers Party is a party of peace, truth and justice.

“We are aiming to work for better living standards for everyone, especially the most vulnerable and poorer members of society,” she said.

“Our country is in crisis. We are being ruled by people without integrity, who have lost their conscience, lost all sense of love and respect for the neighbours, whether they are their own constituents or victims of wars abroad.

The Workers Party representative said this included voting against motions calling for a ceasefire in Palestine, where thousands of innocent children have been wounded or killed.

Their policies include nationalising utility and transport services.

“These politicians have allowed themselves to be corrupted by greed, power and prestige,” Dee said.

She added: “We will resist the dominance of Washington, work with the Brits nations, aim to withdraw from NATO. We do not support conscription of our young people but we will protect our borders, only welcoming and supporting genuine refugees.”

The full list of candidates for Southampton Test is as follows:

Katherine Barbour – Green Party

Ben Burcombe-Filer – The Conservative Party Candidate

John Edwards – Reform UK

Maggie Fricker – Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Thomas Gravatt – Liberal Democrats

Satvir Kaur – Labour Party

Wajahat Shaukat – Workers Party