Amber Rudd accused of 'shutting down' rival's speech on arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Independent candidate Nicholas Wilson uploaded a clip of incident to YouTube 

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The Independent Online

Amber Rudd has been accused of "shutting down" a speech by an election rival who criticised the UK's arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

At an election hustings over the weekend, independent candidate Nicholas Wilson demanded, "Am I being censored?" after he was told by the moderator he had "strayed" from the topic at hand.

The Home Secretary was seen on video passing a note to the chair, who rang a bell and asked Mr Wilson to return to the original debate subject.

Although the video — uploaded to YouTube by Mr Wilson — does not make it clear, it appeared the candidates had been discussing crime and disorder.

He called it: "Amber Rudd shuts down my speech about arms sales to Saudi Arabia". It has been watched hundreds of thousands of times and was among the site's most-shared videos over the weekend.

Asked whether Ms Rudd was involved in cutting off Mr Wilson, a spokeswoman said: "The chair decided to move it on."

The chair of the hustings, held at St Mary's Church in Rye, told Mr Wilson he had "missed the subject that we're on at the moment".

Mr Wilson told The Independent he was "not off topic" and said the incident was "pure censorship".

The panel had been discussing "law and order", he said. He added: "Rudd talked about Manchester. So did I in context of UK arms sales."

Before the bell rang, he had been criticising Prime Minister Theresa May's recent visit Saudi Arabia and the sale of weapons to the Gulf State.

In the video Mr Wilson can be heard saying, "We're talking about Manchester".

He moved back to the topic of crime following the intervention and said: "Soft on crime, soft on the sources of crime. They want to abolish the Serious Fraud Office, which is independent, so that Amber Rudd can then be in charge of prosecutions through the National Crime Agency."

But he was forced to relinquish the microphone when this was deemed a "personal attack", the debate chair said in the video.