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Old Hastings, where Lib Dems will back the Green candidates in May's local elections (photo: MaryBeth Haas).

Old Hastings, where LibDems will back the Green candidates in May’s local elections (photo: MaryBeth Haas).

LibDems stand aside for Greens in Old Hastings

The Liberal Democrats have decided to stand aside in Old Hastings ward and switch their support to the Green Party candidates at the local elections in May. The Greens have welcomed the move – both parties are keen to see Labour’s control of Hastings Borough Council subjected to greater scrutiny and opposition. Nick Terdre reports.

Local Liberal Democrats have made a “unilateral and unanimous” decision to stand aside for the Green Party in Old Hastings ward at the borough council elections on 3 May, they say.

“Our local party is firmly of the view that we need a more diverse Council and that the Labour Cabinet needs constructive, intelligent opposition,” said long-time LibDem activist, Nick Perry.

“We see a lot of common ground with the Green Party, not just at a national level over Brexit, environmentalism and voting reform, but also locally: we both oppose the proposed Harbour development in Old Hastings Ward; we want to see more transparency at the Town Hall (particularly in respect of Ecclesbourne Glen and the Planning Department).”

The Greens welcomed the LibDem move, saying, “We share their interest in trying to get more diverse voices on the council to scrutinise local decisions.

“We are pleased to hear that they share our opposition to the proposed harbour development which, if it went ahead, would destroy the character of one of the best loved parts of our town.”

Independent and fearless voice

The ward will be contested by two of the Greens’ higher-profile members, Julia Hilton and Andrea Needham. “If elected we would work hard to be an independent and fearless voice for the residents of Old Hastings,” they said. “Our vote share in Old Hastings in the last two council elections shows that we are a viable alternative for Liberal Democrat voters.”

However, they face a stiff challenge; in the last elections two years ago the sole Green candidate polled 7% of the vote and the LibDem candidate 3.5%, while Labour took the two seats with a combined 57% vote on a 41% turnout. However, the Green candidates can, as they said, look to profit from widespread disenchantment in the Old Town with the harbour proposal and other unpopular planning decisions.

Neither the LibDems nor the Greens currently have any councillors. Of the 32 seats, Labour hold 23, the Tories eight and one, in Castle ward, is held by an independent. LibDem Richard Stevens held one of the Old Hastings seats until he stood down in 2012. At last year’s general election, the Greens made an agreement with Labour not to field a candidate in an unsuccessful, though only just, attempt to unseat the Tories’ Amber Rudd.

The LibDems will put up candidates in every other ward – seats in all 16 wards are up for election in May – though their slate is not yet available. The Greens have a full slate of candidates, as follows:

Ashdown Gabriel Carlyle and Paul Homer; Baird Judy Scott and Chris Petts; Braybrooke Gerald Turner and Sally Phillips; Castle Charlotte Potter Powell and Graeme Hampton; Central St Leonards Sherry Clark and Karen Simnett; Conquest Ken Davis and Natalia-Jane Philps; Gensing Pete Mason and Milan Rai: Hollington Arkady Johns and Sarah Macbeth; Maze Hill Beccy McCray and Chris Saunders (M); Old Hastings Julia Hilton and Andrea Needham; Ore Gary Rolfe and Jenny de Vuyst; Silverhill Chris Saunders (F) and Dave Carey Stuart; St Helens Laurie Temple and Lucy Brennan Shiel; Tressell Catherine Taylor and Chris Whitrow; West St Leonards Becca Horn and Matthew McDonnell; Wishing Tree Thaddeus Skews and Abby Nichol.


Posted 15:31 Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018 In: Local Elections 2018

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