Monday, 28 November 2016

Local Greens criticise Caroline Lucas over Richmond Park byelection

We were surprised to read Caroline Lucas’s comments that we, as the Green party, are “backing” the Liberal Democrat candidate in the Richmond Park byelection (Lib Dems eye pro-EU voters in final Richmond byelection pushtheguardian.com, 26 November). In fact, local Green parties have made no decision to endorse any other party’s candidate.
As local Green party members, we support the idea of a “progressive alliance” in 2020 to kick out the Tories and change the voting system. But we don’t feel that simply endorsing a Liberal Democrat in Richmond Park has anything to do with the progressive alliance initiative. As the Lib Dem candidate said herself, there has been “no deliberate attempt to form an alliance”. Nor is there any sense in which the Lib Dems left to run their own campaign are “progressive”.
We hope that voters in Richmond Park will remember the Lib Dems’ regressive role with the Tories in government: putting austerity into practice; enacting the bedroom tax; and raising university tuition fees after they promised to scrap them.
And we hope it won’t be forgotten that the Lib Dems are ultimately responsible for the decision to expand Heathrow airport, having launched the Airports Commission in 2012 along with their coalition partners in government.
Unfortunately, we have no progressive alliance and no Green party candidate in Richmond Park. Therefore, although not our first choice, we will be supporting Christian Wolmar, the Labour candidate, as the best option available. We encourage other local Green supporters to do the same.
But we note that, just like Caroline’s support for the Lib Dem candidate, this is neither a progressive alliance, nor is it the Green party’s democratically approved policy.
Ryan Coley Chair of Kingston Green Party
Clare Keogh Kingston and Surbiton 2015 parliamentary candidate, Green party regional council rep
Kieron Merrett Kingston Green party member, Green party national executive member
Hannah Smale Kingston Green party member
Charlie Redman Kingston Green party member
Tariq Shabbeer Kingston Green party member
John Johnson Kingston Green Party member

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