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Greens campaigning in last year's local elections: Andrea Needham, left, Julia Hilton and, right, MP Caroline Lucas (photo: Green Party).

Greens campaigning in last year’s local elections: Andrea Needham, left, Julia Hilton and, right, MP Caroline Lucas (photo: Green Party).

Greens decide not to stand a candidate, Tories yet to choose

The Greens have decided not to stand a candidate in the general election but to concentrate their efforts on next May’s local elections. Meanwhile the Tories have yet to officially decide who will replace Amber Rudd, and the Brexit candidate withdraws. Nick Terdre reports.

Hastings Green Party has decided not to stand a candidate in a general election “in the current political circumstances,” nor will they enter into “any kind of deal, pact or alliance with any other party,” or endorse any other party. They will instead concentrate their efforts on next May’s local elections.

That is in contrast with their stance in the 2017 general election, when they made an agreement with Labour not to put up a candidate in return for undertakings by the Labour candidate Peter Chowney that, if elected, he would support electoral reform and oppose any new runways at Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

The small Green vote can be expected to be divided between Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

“In the Green Party – unlike in other political parties – decisions are made by the membership,” said spokesperson Andrea Needham. “In this instance, members voted not to stand a general election candidate. We have made no deals or alliances with any other party, and will not be endorsing any other party or candidate.

“The party will instead be focusing on its campaign for the 2020 Hastings Borough Council elections. We urge all voters who want to see real action taken to tackle the climate emergency to vote Green in the 2020 local elections.”

In last year’s local elections, the Greens came close to electing Julia Hilton in Old Hastings, after the Lib Dems agreed not to stand a candidate in the ward.

While Chowney has been confirmed as standing for Labour and Nick Perry for the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives have yet to choose their candidate, according to Cllr Rob Lee, leader of the Tory group on HBC.

Cllr Sally-Ann Hart (photo from her Facebook page).

Cllr Sally-Ann Hart (photo from her Facebook page).

Rumours denied

Rumours that the name in the frame is that of Sally-Ann Hart, a councillor for Eastern Rother on Rother District Council, have been emphatically denied by her.

“I can assure you that [this information] is wholly inaccurate,” she told HOT, though adding that she would “definitely be applying” when the selection process begins.

Hart also confirmed that she is a staunch Brexiteer: “I campaigned for Brexit in Hastings and Rye. I believe in the sovereignty and independence of nation states and fundamentally, in democracy; I want the people who impose legislation on me and the British people to take responsibility for those laws and account to us for them,” she said.

“There are many things that I believe do not work in British interests as a result of our membership of the EU but, referring to Hastings and Rye specifically, the EU Common Fisheries Policy virtually destroyed Hastings and Rye’s fishing communities, which have historically formed the soul of these towns. Bringing back control over our waters will bring back a pride in Hastings and Rye and revitalise their souls, strengthening communities.”

Brexit Party withdraws

Whoever the Tories choose as their candidate, they will not find themselves in a contest with the Brexit Party, whose designated candidate Tom Bewick says he will no longer stand in Hastings & Rye. Bewick – a Brighton & Hove councillor who defected from Labour in May – was selected for Hastings & Rye when local MP Amber Rudd, a Remainer, was expected to seek re-election.

His decision to move elsewhere would make sense if the Tories were committed to standing a Remainer, which would allow them to maximise their support among Hastings Leavers, who had a majority in the Brexit referendum of 2016.

In 2017 the seat became a marginal when Rudd squeezed home by just 346 votes over Chowney. Having resigned her ministerial post and given up the Tory whip in September, she has now said she will stand elsewhere as an independent Conservative.

A general election in the short term appears inevitable given that prime minister Boris Johnson lacks a majority in Parliament. The legislative programme he proposed on Monday has been taken by opposition parties as essentially an election manifesto.

 

This article was amended by Nick Terdre on 17 October 2019.

Posted 20:37 Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019 In: Politics

7 Comments

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  1. Penny

    Well done Greens!
    To reduce the risk of a split vote between them and the only other consistent “Remain” support from the LibDem candidate, they have sacrificed putting forward a candidate for the next election.

    Comment by Penny — Monday, Oct 21, 2019 @ 10:05

  2. Ms.Doubtfire

    The main reason why many do not want a Labour council in this town is for the very fact raised by Bea Rogers – far too much is discussed behind closed doors. Until such time this Labour led council treats residents as worthy to take part in all these secret discussions and listens to their concerns, there really is no place for Chowney and his little gang. Too many important decisions are being taken without any consultation with residents…and this has to stop.
    And as for Chowney giving taking a stronger stand against Brexit – wow! The majority voted to leave the EU – why would Chowney go against a democratic vote?

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Monday, Oct 21, 2019 @ 09:09

  3. Ms.Doubtfire

    Thats a great pity because I know many who voted for the Greens last time and hoped to do the same this time around….I doubt those who voted for the Greens will bother to vote for any of the motley crew on offer this time…but – it is imperative that the Labour party does not continue to rule the roost in this town. They have caused far too much damage. We deserve something better. Maybe Nick Perry will be the answer – the lesser of the other evils…!!!!

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Thursday, Oct 17, 2019 @ 20:47

  4. David Stevenson

    What’s all this talk about an election? We are not scheduled to have one until well after next May’s local elections. In order to have one before the due date, there needs to be either a vote of no-confidence in the Government or at least a 2/3rds majority of MPs voting in favour of one. Or do the local parties and the press know something which the mere electorate are not important enough to be told about?

    Comment by David Stevenson — Thursday, Oct 17, 2019 @ 18:35

  5. Bea Rogers

    I applaud the Green Party’s decision not to stand and hope they win at least one local Council seat next May. In a general election Progressives will have to back whoever has the best chance of getting rid of the Tory candidate here. Not just because of Brexit but for the sake of the environment – a right-wing Tory MP here would simply add to the drag factor on any meaningful action on the climate emergency.
    Just one proviso though: Chowney will have to take a stronger stand against Brexit. And this Labour council should also listen more to the people of Hastings rather than meeting in closed caucuses.

    Comment by Bea Rogers — Thursday, Oct 17, 2019 @ 12:05

  6. Michael Edwards

    Well, what a cop out from the Greens. They claim to stand on high principles, they claim their programme “isn’t like other parties’ manifestos” that has not been “squeezed through focus groups” and they have a better alternative to offer. Their only MP hails from along the coast. Yet now we hear they won’t even field a candidate for the next general election, how pathetic, are they trying to avoid humiliation at the ballot box? What’s the time worn phrase “shame on you”.

    Comment by Michael Edwards — Thursday, Oct 17, 2019 @ 08:21

  7. Keith Piggott

    Whitehall whispers, Amber Rubb will stand in Knightsbridge & Chelsea.

    Before Amber departs Hastings & Rye, I hope that finally this former Home Secretary she will intervene against Sussex Police holding unlawful records, also continuing defaults of ICO decisions to disclose all personal data accumulated during 2012-2015 partisan policing to aid and abet a violent developer’s daily encroachments and ultimate annexation of our land over 1892 covenanted fence and agreed 2013 boundary.

    Comment by Keith Piggott — Thursday, Oct 17, 2019 @ 01:42

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