GENERAL ELECTION: Green Party to back Labour's bid to unseat Amber Rudd

The Hastings and Rye Green Party has formed an alliance with Labour in a bid to oust Amber Rudd at next month's general election.

Thursday, 11th May 2017, 5:14 pm
Updated Friday, 12th May 2017, 2:30 pm
Peter Chowney SUS-150713-070902001

The Greens had offered not to field a candidate in the constituency in return for pledges from the Labour candidate Peter Chowney.

The party said that Mr Chowney had agreed, amongst other pledges, that if elected he will support proposals for electoral reform and will oppose new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick.

A spokesperson for the Greens said: “Hastings and Rye Green Party cite a number of issues on which we feel Amber Rudd has made decisions against the interests of the people of Hastings and wider society.

“Since her election in 2010, she has voted consistently to cut welfare benefits, including housing benefit, disability benefits and tax credits for the poorest.

“At the same time, she has voted for reducing corporation tax and opposed tax increases for the richest.

“She has voted to raise tuition fees and to cut support for low income 16-19 year olds in education or training.

“As Climate Change Secretary, Amber Rudd was responsible for huge cuts in subsidies for renewables, which her own figures showed could lead to 18,700 job loses.

“In addition, she is completely opposed to proportional representation, which would give all parties fair representation in Parliament.”

Last week, Hastings and Rye Green Party secretary Julia Hilton was selected as the party’s candidate for the general election.

Julia Hilton stood for the Green Party in Old Town and Tressell in the recent county council elections, receiving almost 11 percent of the vote.

However, at the same time, the Greens decided that if the Labour Party agreed to certain conditions, they would not submit Julia’s nomination.

The conditions agreed to by Hastings and Rye Labour Party are that their candidate, Peter Chowney, if elected to Parliament, would:

* Support proposals for proportional representation for all elections in the UK, including voting in favour of any bills brought to parliament proposing electoral reform;

* Support the Hastings and Rye fishing industry by campaigning to reallocate the UK’s fishing quotas in favour of boats of less than 10 metres, thus supporting sustainable fishing in our waters;

* Oppose fracking and support the development of a low carbon economy;

* Oppose any new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick.

The Greens say they also required Mr Chowney to agree that, if elected, he would continue to support these policies in parliament, regardless of any future change in Labour leadership or policy.

Mr Chowney said: “I welcome the decision of Hastings Green Party not to stand a candidate in the upcoming general election.

“The country cannot afford another five years of Tory government, and progressive parties need to work together to ensure that doesn’t happen.

“Amber Rudd has consistently supported policies which go against the interests of the majority of people in Hastings and we need to do everything we can to make sure she loses her seat”

Julia Hilton said: “The Green Party in Hastings has seen some encouraging results in local elections, and we have no intention of standing down in future elections.

“However, we believe that this election represents a cynical attempt at a power grab and that progressive parties need to unite to oppose another five years of Tory government.

“Whilst we are disappointed that the Labour Party nationally has refused to take part in discussions on a progressive alliance, we are happy that locally we were able to reach an agreement with the Labour Party with the aim of getting rid of Amber Rudd.

“Over the past seven years the Tories have impoverished millions of people, targeting people with disabilities for particularly swingeing cuts, whilst cutting taxes for the richest.

“They have brought the NHS and state schools to their knees, and ignored the urgent need to take action on climate change.

“The hard Brexit they are planning will lead to more cuts, more austerity, more pain inflicted on the most vulnerable in our society. In these circumstances, we decided that we had a responsibility to unite with other parties to oppose the catastrophe of another Tory government.”

Amber Rudd did not wish to comment.