Clearing The Electoral Field
Fight For Amber Rudd’s Seat Reduced To Three-Way Contest
The local Green Party issued a statement last Sunday that it has decided not to field a general election candidate in the Hastings & Rye constituency “in the current political circumstances”. The party has also indicated that it will not endorse any other candidate to replace Amber Rudd as MP – unlike in 2017, when it gave official backing to the Labour challenger, Cllr Peter Chowney.
Meanwhile it has been reported, though at the time going to press there has been no official confirmation, that the recently appointed Brexit party candidate Tom Bewick has shifted his attention to another constituency. Thus, if an election is triggered within the next few weeks, which appears probable, it seems that there will be just a three-way contest in Hastings & Rye between Cllr Chowney, Nick Perry of the Liberal Democrats, and an as yet unnamed Conservative.
Andrea Needham, Hastings Green Party spokesperson, said, “In the Green Party – unlike in other political parties – decisions are made by the membership. In this instance, members voted not to stand a general election candidate. We have made no deals or alliances with any other party…(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.”
It is understood that Cllr Chowney made a pitch to Green members at a meeting last Thursday. Although he did not win their official electoral endorsement he subsequently put an upbeat slant on their decision: “I’m very pleased.
“They made the decision after I explained what policies I supported, and how the need to prevent climate change was, in my view, by far the most important issue facing humankind.
“I outlined other policies I’d be promoting too – including support for proportional representation – whether they decided to stand aside or not.”
Mr Perry had also offered to meet with the Green membership to ask for their endorsement as the ‘Remain’ candidate. Following their withdrawal he told HIP: “This is an honourable decision by the local Green Party. It will help to keep the Remain vote united, and of course I accept their wish not to endorse another candidate. With the Conservatives’ new candidate being Brexit Party endorsed, Hastings & Rye will have a choice between a hardline pro-Brexit Tory and a Stop Brexit Liberal Democrat. The Labour Party will tell us their position on this pivotal issue after the election”.
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