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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Caroline Lucas attacks Labour & the Liberal Democrats over failure to back an electoral alliance

Caroline Lucas, the co-leader of the Green Party, has attacked both Labour and the Liberal Democrat party leaderships for failing to fully engage with the idea of electoral alliances despite, the Greens claim, the strong wishes of their members and the wider public. Yesterday the Labour Party suspended Steve Williams, a member in Surrey who had advocated for an alliance around a pro-NHS candidate to beat Jeremy Hunt.

Dr Lucas has been at the forefront of efforts to push both Labour and Liberal Democrats to work together to improve the chances of beating the Conservative party at the next election and secure a fair voting system for future elections. However, the grassroots campaign have been frustrated by both parties. Labour refused to even meet with the Greens and the Liberal Democrats engaged but only at an arms length.

The Green Party has stood aside in a number of strategically important seats - thus boosting the chances of candidates such as Liberal Democrat Sarah Olney in Richmond Park and Labour’s Rupa Huq in Ealing Central & Acton. With Labour and the Liberal Democrats failing to engage with electoral alliances, and nominations for candidates closing this week, the Green Party co-leader says her party will now 'move on from alliances' and redouble efforts to win votes across the country.

Caroline Lucas said: "Both Labour and the Lib Dems have betrayed the people they represent by not fully engaging with the idea of electoral alliances.Though the Lib Dems were happy to have informal discussion, they never delivered on ruled any meaningful alliances. Labour were even more intransigent - with no hint from their leadership that they were interested in talking about how we best beat this rotten Tory Government."

Turning her fire on Labour especially for suspending Steve Williams in Surrey, Dr Lucas said: "Labour’s treatment of Steve Williams in Surrey is both shameful and shortsighted. There was a real chance to unite around a pro-NHS candidate to beat Jeremy Hunt, but Labour might well have now blown it. Labour and the Lib Dems defied their own members on the ground - and the time has now come for the Greens to focus entirely on winning votes up and down the country."

Explaining why she thought there should be an electoral alliance between Labour the Liberal Democrats and the Green party, Dr Lucas said: "Electoral alliances matter because we have a broken political system. We have a Government hellbent on some of the most extreme policies in a generation: a crumbling NHS, a jilted generation of young people being let down and the pursuit of a hardline extreme Brexit. Our hugely undemocratic electoral system is so stacked in the establishment’s favour that the Tories can win a majority on just 24% of the eligible vote. It’s abundantly clear that to crack open our politics we must hack the system and create a more plural politics."

"Having done what we can, our focus is now entirely on winning votes up and down the country - and sending more MPs to Parliament on June 8th. The other parties have proved in recent weeks that they aren’t fit for the modern political age - and in this election we’re offering voters a chance to back a politics which puts people first to deliver a confident and caring country." Caroline Lucas added.