No Lib Dem/Green pact in Lewes for general election
A pact between the Lib Dems and Greens has not been agreed in Lewes for next month’s general election.
Conservative Maria Caulfield has represented the constituency in Parliament since 2015 after unseating long-time Lib Dem MP Norman Baker.
The Lib Dems have previously been the nearest challengers to the Tories, with the Greens deciding not to field a general election candidate in Lewes back in 2017.
Despite this Ms Caulfield still increased her majority to more than 5,000 votes over the second-place Lib Dem candidate.
But the Greens are coming off a strong showing at the Lewes District Council election back in May, where they took nine seats compared to the Lib Dems’ eight.
The Greens and Lib Dems have come to an agreement to field one candidate ‘from a remain party’ in selected seats across England for the upcoming general election.
However Lewes is not among those listed.
Locally both sides expressed ‘disappointment’ the national discussions had not included their seat.
Oli Henman, Lewes Lib Dem parliamentary candidate, said: “All the polling and evidence clearly shows that the election the Lewes constituency will be a close race between myself and the Conservatives.
“The Liberal Democrats overwhelmingly beat the Conservatives, Labour and Green Party in the recent European elections here. When it comes to a general election, this constituency has been a Lib Dem/Conservative marginal since 1992.
“We are therefore very disappointed that the Green Party have decided to split the remain vote here, especially as they stood aside at the last election here in 2017.
“We are committed to a grown-up collaborative approach to politics and we have shown good faith as a party in the Sussex area as we will be standing down in favour of Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion and we have a strong cooperative alliance on the Lewes District Council. I would urge the Green Party to think again here.
“We are already working hard across the constituency; talking to voters about our priorities. We are committed to fighting against the chaos of Brexit and the uncaring approach of the Conservative Party and instead offering a brighter future for all local residents.”
Meanwhile Johnny Dennis, the Greens’ parliamentary candidate and a cabinet member at LDC, said: “Clearly our Liberal Democrat colleagues are confident that they can win this seat. I welcome the news of co-operation between parties elsewhere and it is disappointing that Lewes is not one of those seats, as we stood down for the Lib Dems at the last snap election in 2017. I am not deterred from taking on our hard-Brexit supporting MP.
“I enjoy working with my Lib Dem colleagues on Lewes District Council and we have an important job to do in running the council as a cooperative alliance.
“I will be standing in this General Election and my focus will be on talking to voters where the Brexit divide has hit hardest. I have been talking to people this weekend who want our next MP to focus on what matters to our local community, and who want an alternative to Johnson and his shambolic government.”
The current confirmed candidates in Lewes are:
Maria Caulfield (Conservatives)
Adam Cleary (Brexit Party)
Johnny Denis (Green Party)
Oli Henman (Liberal Democrats).