11 May 2017
Thursday 11 May
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Photo available: Julia Hilton
HASTINGS GREEN PARTY FORMS ALLIANCE WITH LABOUR TO UNSEAT AMBER RUDD
Green Party offers not to field candidate in return for pledges from Labour candidate
The Labour Party candidate in the Home Secretary's constituency, Hastings and Rye, has accepted an offer from Hastings and Rye Green Party (HRGP) not to stand a candidate in the general election in return for various pledges, with the aim of unseating Amber Rudd. Peter Chowney has agreed, amongst other pledges, that if elected he will support proposals for electoral reform and will oppose new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick.
Hastings and Rye Green Party cite a number of issues on which they feel Amber Rudd has made decisions against the interests of the people of Hastings and wider society. Since her election in 2010, she has voted consistently to cut welfare benefits, including housing benefit, disability benefits and tax credits for the poorest . At the same time, she has voted for reducing corporation tax  and opposed tax increases for the richest . She has voted to raise tuition fees and to cut support for low income 16-19 year olds in education or training . As Climate Change Secretary, Amber Rudd was responsible for huge cuts in subsidies for renewables, which her own figures showed could lead to 18,700 job losses . In addition, she is completely opposed to proportional representation, which would give all parties fair representation in Parliament.
Last week, HRGP Secretary Julia Hilton was selected as the Green Party candidate for the general election. Julia Hilton stood for the Green Party in Old Town and Tressell in the recent county council elections, receiving almost 11% of the vote . However, at the same time, HRGP decided that if the Labour Party agreed to certain conditions, they would not submit Julia's nomination.
The conditions agreed to by Hastings and Rye Labour Party are that their candidate, Peter Chowney, if elected to Parliament, would:
1. Support proposals for proportional representation for all elections in the UK, including voting in favour of any bills brought to parliament proposing electoral reform ;
2. 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, thus supporting sustainable fishing in our waters;
3. Oppose fracking and support the development of a low carbon economy;
4. Oppose any new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick.
HRGP also required Peter Chowney to agree that, if elected, he would continue to support these policies in parliament, regardless of any future change in Labour leadership or policy .
Peter Chowney said,
'I welcome the decision of Hastings Green Party not to stand a candidate in the upcoming general election. The country cannot afford another five years of Tory government, and progressive parties need to work together to ensure that doesn't happen. Amber Rudd has consistently supported policies which go against the interests of the majority of people in Hastings and we need to do everything we can to make sure she loses her seat’
Julia Hilton said,
'The Green Party in Hastings has seen some encouraging results in 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. Whilst we are disappointed that the Labour Party nationally has refused to take part in discussions on a progressive alliance, we are happy that locally we were able to reach an agreement with the Labour Party with the aim of getting rid of Amber Rudd. 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'.
 This would also include – whether or not Peter Chowney were elected as MP - 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; and 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 its legislative commitments.
 Full statement can be read at hastings.greenparty.org.uk/general-election-2017