Lewes Greens reselect general election candidate

Johnny Denis, front centre in the black polo shirt, has been reselected as the Green Party's prospective parliamentary candidate for Lewes
Johnny Denis, front centre in the black polo shirt, has been reselected as the Green Party's prospective parliamentary candidate for Lewes

Green Party members have reselected their prospective parliamentary candidate for Lewes.

The Conservatives’ Maria Caulfield unseated Lib Dem Norman Baker in 2015. She then held on to the constituency in 2017 where the Greens’ Katie Hawks stood aside for the Lib Dem candidate.

Johnny Denis, a Lewes district councillor for Ouse Valley and Ringmer, was reselected as his party’s PPC at the Lewes Greens’ annual general meeting last week.

Since the cooperative alliance took over the running of Lewes District Council several weeks ago, Cllr Denis is now cabinet member for communities and customers.

He told members: “Thank you for your solid support in reselecting me and for the support we have built for a different kind of politics.

“We are so much more than just a remain party. We will put tackling climate change as priority number one while supporting communities and rebuilding properly funded public services.

“The people of Lewes are looking for a progressive candidate who can win! Together we can make that happen.”

Cllr Denis, who has lived in the constituency since he was 16, is a social entrepreneur starting and supporting a number of enterprises and third-sector organisations in the area including Common Cause, which began the Lewes Farmers Market and Furniture Now, since renamed The Now Charity.

The Green Party finished with the second-most seats behind the Conservatives at the Lewes District Council election in May, one more than the Lib Dems.

Ouse Valley and Ringmer, which Cllr Denis represents, elected three Green councillors.

According to their figures the Greens polled more votes than the Tories, 15,635 to 12,710, across the entire Lewes constituency in May, which spans wards in both the Lewes and Wealden districts.

This helped produce the best ever local election results in the party’s 46-year history more than doubling its number of councillors nationally from 178 to 362.

The Greens argue these results make them well placed to defeat the Conservatives at the next general election, which must be held by 2022.

Brighton Pavilion’s Green MP Caroline Lucas said: “The Green Party is the best placed party, and Johnny the best placed candidate, to take this seat from the Conservatives who are intent on driving this country over a Brexit cliff-edge, while ignoring the growing climate emergency and effects of austerity on people across the constituency.”