Lib Dems Give Way To Greens – But No Reciprocation
Hastings and Rye Green Party will be fielding a full slate of candidates in the upcoming council elections on 3 May notwithstanding a decision by Liberal Democrats to “stand aside” in their favour in Old Hastings ward.
Nick Perry, best-known face of the Lib Dems in town following his candidatures in national parliamentary elections, has explained the decision, made unilaterally at their organised meeting on 9 March, to support the Greens in Old Hastings as a recognition of the need
for a more diverse Council. “The Labour Cabinet needs constructive, intelligent opposition. 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.”
Andrea Needham, Green Party spokeswoman and their candidate, along with Julia Hilton, in Old Hastings, has welcomed the Lib Dem decision. The Greens have been targeting their local efforts in the Old Town and Clive Vale area, and challenging the Labour council’s approach to the suggested Harbour development. “We share the Lib Dems’ interest in trying to get more diverse voices on the council to scrutinise local decisions”, she told HIP.
“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”. She made it clear however that there would be no reciprocal offer to withdraw candidates in other wards.
Up to 2012 Cllr Richard Stevens held one of the seats in Old Hastings as a Lib Dem. However at the last borough election in 2016 the combined share of Lib Dems and Greens in the ward was only 10.5%. It would thus take a remarkable swing for the Greens, even without Lib Dem competition, to capture a seat in May.
In fact the only ward in the borough where a combined stand by the two parties looks to have any serious prospects of success based on previous electoral arithmetic is Castle, where Mr Perry and Ms Needham, as it happened, were rival candidates in 2016. On that occasion Mr Perry obtained 32% of the vote while Ms Needham polled a further 11%.
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