Standing Aside in Ilford North, Standing Up for Democracy

1 May 2017

The General Election on 8 June will take place in unprecedented circumstances, with the clock ticking on the process for the UK to leave the EU and the Conservatives seemingly intent on pursuing a damaging “hard” Brexit.

Ilford North is a marginal constituency where cooperation between the more progressive parties offers the best chance of beating the Conservatives.  In recognition of this, members of the Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party have met with Ilford North MP Wes Streeting, who won the seat from the Conservatives in 2015 with a slim majority of 589 votes.

Mr Streeting was one of the few Labour MPs to back the Electoral Reform Bill proposed last year by Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas. He has given us an undertaking that he will stand by his commitment to a fairer voting system, which includes lowering the voting age to 16. If re-elected, he has promised to put forward a Private Members’ Bill on Proportional Representation, or support such a bill if introduced by another MP. (1) 

Mr Streeting has also promised us that he will work tirelessly to put pressure on the government to deliver a Brexit deal that works in the interests of the whole country, not a privileged few.

He has also committed to work with the Green Party on a number of local issues where we share common ground, such as the loss of sports facilities and Green Belt land at Oakfield Playing Fields, the threat to King George’s A&E, the dangerously poor air quality in Redbridge, particularly around the A406 North Circular Road, and noise pollution from London City Airport.

Wes Streeting said: "I'd be proud to have the support of Greens at this election to defeat the Bluekip alliance of the Tories and UKIP”.

Given the circumstances of this election and Mr Streeting’s undertakings to us, Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party members have voted not to stand a candidate in Ilford North in the coming General Election, and instead are recommending to Green Party members and supporters in Ilford North that they vote for Labour’s Wes Streeting on 8 June.

The Green Party’s 2015 Ilford North candidate David Reynolds said: “We are sorry that this means that Green Party members and supporters in Ilford North will not have the opportunity to vote Green on this occasion. When Proportional Representation is introduced, these kinds of deals will no longer be necessary”.

Local party joint coordinator Rebecca Tully added: “The Green Party offers long-term solutions to the biggest issues of our time – like climate change - solutions which also build our communities and local economies. Unfortunately, our voting system stunts progress and as long as this is the case, some difficult decisions have to be made”.

The Green Party will be fielding candidates in the other 4 constituencies in Waltham Forest and Redbridge: Leyton & Wanstead, Chingford & Woodford Green, Ilford South and Walthamstow.

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