Hastings and Rye Green Party (HRGP) recently selected Julia Hilton as the Green Party candidate for the General Election on June 8. At the same time, it was decided that if the Labour Party agreed to certain conditions, Julia's nomination would not be submitted and HRGP would not stand a candidate in the election. The Labour candidate, Peter Chowney has now agreed to our conditions, so we will not be standing a candidate in the general election.
The Green Party in Hastings has seen some encouraging results in recent local elections, and we have no intention of standing down in future elections. However, we believe that this election represents a cynical attempt at a power grab and that progressive parties need to unite to oppose another five years of Tory government. Over the past seven years the Tories have impoverished millions of people, targeting people with disabilities for particularly swingeing cuts, whilst cutting taxes for the richest. They have brought the NHS and state schools to their knees, and ignored the urgent need to take action on climate change. The hard Brexit they are planning will lead to more cuts, more austerity, more pain inflicted on the most vulnerable in our society. In these circumstances, we decided that we had a responsibility to unite with other parties to oppose the catastrophe of another Tory government.
We may have disagreements with Labour over some of their policies - in particular their lack of a vigorous fight against a hard Brexit - but the Green Party and the Labour Party share a commitment on many key policies. For example,
Labour have adopted a Green Party policy from 2014, committing to a minimum wage of £10 an hour;
They are committed to returning the railways to public ownership;
They have committed to the scrapping of university tuition fees.
We decided in the light of this, and the urgent wish of many in Hastings to unseat Amber Rudd, that we would not stand a candidate provided the Labour Party candidate agreed to certain policies. Peter Chowney, the Labour candidate, has agreed to those policies, and to publicly campaign for and vote in favour of them in if elected to Parliament. They are:
1) To support proposals for proportional representation for all elections in the UK so that every person’s vote matters. This would involve the following:
Whether successful or not as a parliamentary candidate;
Co-organising with the Green Party, a cross party open discussion in Hastings on the topic of Electoral reform, with key campaigners from Make Votes Matter and Compass invited.
Drafting a motion to go to the Labour Party conference/NEC calling on the Labour party to adopt electoral reform including proportional representation as part of it’s legislative commitments.
If elected, voting in favour of any bills that are brought to parliament proposing electoral reform;
2) To support the Hastings and Rye fishing industry by campaigning to reallocate the UK’s fishing quotas in favour of boats of less than 10 metres and so support sustainable fishing in our waters;
3) To oppose fracking and support the development of a low carbon economy;
4) To oppose any new runways at Heathrow and Gatwick.
We acknowledge that some of these may already be Labour Party policy or may yet be adopted officially by the Labour Party. However, we would expect that Peter Chowney, if elected, would continue to support these policies in parliament regardless of any future change in Labour leadership or policy.
In addition, we have asked that Hastings and Rye Labour party make the case to hustings organisers that Hastings & Rye Green Party representatives be invited to participate in hustings or public meetings pertaining to the general election and that the support of the local Green Party for the Labour candidate be mentioned in official campaign literature, where this may be possible.
We know that some of our members and supporters will be disappointed that they will not be able to vote for a Green Party candidate in the general election. We hope they can understand the reasons behind our decision and continue to vote for the Green Party in future elections.