[M]embers of Allerdale & Copeland Green Party have decided to not field candidates in the General Election in the marginal constituencies of both Workington and Copeland.
The decision was made at an emergency meeting of the party which was held on Thursday 27 April. After initially selecting candidates Jill Perry for Workington and Jack Lenox for Copeland, the group had a wide-ranging discussion about whether or not to actually stand in the General Election on 8 June.
It had been hoped that the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats would work with the Greens to achieve a democratically representative vote instead of a Conservative landslide. Members of Allerdale & Copeland Green Party have been in discussions with other local parties and the cross-party organisation Compass about a call for the Labour Party to reciprocate by not fielding a candidate in the Isle of Wight – a target seat for the Green Party who outperformed both Labour and the Liberal Democrats there in 2015. Unfortunately, these discussions have not led to any meaningful commitment from the Labour Party.
It is the belief of Allerdale & Copeland Green Party that Labour and the Liberal Democrats are completely failing the electorate by allowing the Conservatives to exploit the voting system to seize complete power on the back of minority support within the country.
In the interests of our communities we have therefore voted democratically – for the common good – to not stand on this occasion in an effort to minimise the terrible prospect of a Conservative landslide.
Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party said yesterday: “Electoral alliances matter because we have a broken political system. We have a Government hellbent on some of the most extreme policies in a generation: a crumbling NHS, a jilted generation of young people being let down and the pursuit of a hardline extreme Brexit. Our hugely undemocratic electoral system is so stacked in the establishment’s favour that the Tories can win a majority on just 24% of the eligible vote. It’s abundantly clear that to crack open our politics we must hack the system and create a more plural politics.”
Jill Perry, the Party Chair and selected candidate for Workington, said: “The decision to stand down has been a really difficult one for us, not taken lightly and many of our members have felt really conflicted about the need to do what is right for the country and the majority of its people and the desire to see Green MPs elected. While we have the undemocratic “first past the post” system, small parties and their voters will always face this dilemma in most constituencies. Therefore we continue to call on Labour to support a move to electoral reform in favour of proportional representation.
“We will not be standing idle during the election period. Some of our members are already signed up to help the Green party campaigns in Brighton Pavillion and Manchester Gorton. Some of us will be helping in Penrith and the Border and others will spend time explaining what we have done and why on the doorsteps of our two constituencies.”
Jack Lenox, the selected candidate for Copeland and candidate in the recent by-election said: “It is absolutely sickening to be in a situation where our electoral system is so broken that it requires members of a party like ours to have to make a decision to not stand a candidate. I know too well how desperately the people of Copeland need strong representation at this time and I am so sorry that I will not be able to give them the opportunity to vote Green on this occasion.
“It is such a shame that at the top level, the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats have not seen sense and come to the negotiating table with us. However, it is heartening to see that electoral alliances can happen whether the leadership of each party want them or not. I applaud the Liberal Democrats for not standing against Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion, and the attempts of now expelled Labour Party members to unseat Jeremy Hunt in South West Surrey by lending their support to the National Health Action candidate.”