The age-old concept of election hustings is being dragged into the 21st century by Cumbria Chamber of Commerce.

The business organisation is to stage a virtual hustings online, with three of the county’s General Election hopefuls taking part.

John Stevenson, who is aiming to retain his seat in Carlisle, along with Liberal Democrat candidate for Westmorland and Lonsdale, Tim Farron and Sarah Williams, the Labour hopeful for Penrith and the Border, will take questions live between 7pm and 8pm on Tuesday, November 26.

The Chamber’s chief executive Rob Johnston will chair proceedings. 

He said: “We’ve thought long and hard about ways to involve businesses in the election, and this is our solution.

"People are much more likely to log-on to an online hustings than turn out to a draughty hall on a cold November night.

“We have candidates from the three main parties, standing in different constituencies, who will take questions live. 

“It should be a stimulating and thought-provoking hour.”

Mr Johnson urged businesspeople to get involved in the unique event.

“This is a great opportunity for businesses to put these candidates on the spot.

“They can ask the politicians about their policies, how they will revive the economy, encourage investment and boost productivity, and how they will ensure that Cumbria’s voice and needs are addressed on the national stage.

"I suspect that Brexit may crop up too.”

Businesses must register in advance at the election section of the Chamber’s website to watch the hustings live on their computer, smartphone or tablet. For those who cannot make it, there is an option to watch a replay of proceedings.

The Chamber is also recording three election podcasts in the run-up to polling day with Lib Dem candidate for Carlisle, Julia Aglionby, James Airey, Conservative hopeful for Westmorland and Lonsdale and Sue Hayman of Labour, who is aiming to retain the Workington seat.

They will be available to download at the podcast section of the website when published.

The hustings and podcast follow the publication of the Chamber’s ‘Manifesto for Business’.

It sets out a number of demands of the next Government on issues ranging from Brexit, people and skills and infrastructure to international trade, business investment and costs.