Green Party withdraws Lewes general election candidate

Former Green Party candidate Katie Hawks confirmed that she will not be standing on June 8.
Former Green Party candidate Katie Hawks confirmed that she will not be standing on June 8.

The Green Party says it has taken the decision to withdraw its general election candidate in Lewes.

In a statement issued this morning (Wednesday), the former Green Party candidate Katie Hawks confirmed she would not be standing on June 8.

A party spokesman added that the decision had been made after meetings with the chair of the Lewes Liberal Democrats, who they say had given "an absolute assurance" that the party will not form a post-election coalition with the Conservatives.

Ms Hawks said: "The Green Party is a thoroughly democratic organisation and the local party has come to an independent decision, which I fully respect.

"This is not an ordinary general election. The Conservatives are not only pushing for the hardest of hard Brexits; they are gutting the NHS and state schools, cutting taxes for the few not the many, getting into bed with oppressive regimes from the Philippines to Saudi Arabia and ignoring the ever more urgent need to take action on climate change.

"We need to fight back against these attacks on our open, decent and tolerant society, and do our bit to check Theresa May’s ambitions to close down Britain and wreck what remains of the welfare state.

"People in Lewes passionately want a different kind of politics. We share that passion. We are prepared to put our country before our party on this occasion, and stand down for the common good."

Local elections coordinator Anthony Shuster said: "'We are standing down, for the common good. We recognise the strong desire of LibDem, Labour, Green and many moderate Remain-voting Conservative supporters in Lewes, for a voice in Parliament to oppose Theresa May’s hard Brexit.

"This broad cross-section of voters clearly forms a majority across the Lewes constituency. Their current MP does not represent them. We have listened to local people, who have called upon parties to cooperate in order to represent the pro-Europe majority in this constituency.

"Therefore we have taken the decision not to stand a Green candidate in Lewes at the General Election on the 8th of June. Our Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Katie Hawks, will not appear on the ballot paper

"Katie Hawks is an excellent candidate who, under normal circumstances, we would be proud to put forward for election. We admire the grace and understanding with which she has accepted the local party’s decision.

"We recognise that after 2010 many of our supporters will be reluctant to vote for the Lib Dems. We met with the Chair of Lewes Lib Dems and were given an absolute assurance that the LibDems will not form a coalition with the Tories post-election.

"We also obtained assurances that they will fight for a further referendum to give the people a say in accepting the terms the Brexit deal, and that they will campaign to reform the voting system and introduce Proportional Representation.

"This has not been an easy decision to make, and we know that many of our supporters will be disappointed that they cannot vote for a Green candidate. We hope they will understand the reasons behind our members’ decision."

"The Green Party in Lewes in growing all the time. In the county council elections last week, we came only 107 votes short of winning our first seat on East Sussex County Council, coming a close second to the Lib Dems in the Ringmer & Lewes Bridge division with 30 per cent of the vote. The Conservatives were beaten into third place for the first time in this division.

"We have a distinctive vision and set of values as a political party, and we have no plans to stand down in future local or national elections in Lewes. However we recognise the need to set aside political differences and work with other parties in the best interests of the people of Lewes."

Responding to the announcement, Liberal Democrat PPC Kelly-Marie Blundell said: "The Green Party recognise that it is a two horse race in the constituency of Lewes, between me as Norman Baker's replacement and the Conservatives.

“We are fighting for every vote to hold back the Tories and their hard Brexit agenda. The Liberal Democrats are the best choice for voters who want to see a progressive opposition to a Conservative government.”

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