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BBC puts councillors in Carlisle city centre 'hot seat'

Richard Moss | 11:32 UK time, Friday, 8 April 2011

Carlisle Castle

Carlisle is the first place to see councillors placed in the "hot seat".

What would happen if you took three local councillors, put them on stools and plonked them in a town or city centre?

The correct answer hopefully is increased engagement with the current local elections.

We are about to find out whether that is the case as we do it for real as part of Look North's coverage of the poll.

We start in Carlisle on Monday 11 April.

The leaders of the three main party groups on the city council will be placed "in the hot seat" on stools in the Market Square between noon and 2pm.

Stool

One of the "hot seats" waiting for a councillor to sit on it!

They will be available to answer questions from the public on anything related to the local authority.

And all of it will be filmed to appear on Look North later in the week.

I will be chairing the first event, and hopefully helping the public to get answers.

I have no idea what kind of interest we'll generate, or what people will want to know.

It is not the controlled environment of a studio or the stage-managed picture opportunity of a political visit.

But then that's the point - we want this to be driven by the concerns of the voters rather than the agenda of a journalist or a politician.

What is it that matters to you and what could influence your vote? Do you just want to know why you should even bother taking an interest?

It's perhaps one answer to the talk of a disconnection between politicians and the public.

The next stops after Carlisle, will be Darlington on 18 April and Newcastle on 25 April. My colleague Mark Denten will be overseeing those.

Hopefully for two hours at least the local elections will be alive and obvious in the heart of those communities.

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