CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Green Party vows to bounce back for Camden’s council elections

Candidates lose deposits at general elections as supporters vote for Labour

13 June, 2017 — By Richard Osley

Sian Berry watches TV coverage from elsewhere at the general election count for Holborn and St Pancras

THE Green Party believes some it supporters in Camden switched to Labour at the general election because they were spooked at the prospect of a giant Conservative majority at Westminster.

Candidates in both the Holborn and St Pancras and Hampstead and Kilburn constituencies lost their deposits after failing to secure five percent of the vote. Party organisers, however, say they can win back support at next year’s council elections where they insist they can still win new seats at the Town Hall.

John Holmes, the party’s co-chairman in Camden, said: “Our doorstep conversations in Holborn and St Pancras revealed many regular Green supporters did vote Labour this time as a show of strength against the Tories and their hard Brexit, and because they were concerned about a potential Conservative gain, despite Keir Starmer’s existing majority.”

He added: “We’re disappointed to lose General Election votes like this, but many voters we spoke to are determined to vote Green in next year’s council elections. We’re confident we can gain new Green councillors to hold Labour to account here, especially on issues such as housing and air pollution where the inaction of the Council runs quite contrary to wishes of many Corbyn voters.”

Labour’s rivals want to stop Camden’s politics heading the same way as neighbouring Islington where every seat at the Town Hall  bar one is held by Jeremy Corbyn’s party. Green councillor Caroline Russell is the only opposition.  Sian Berry, who came fourth in Holborn and St Pancras, is currently a councillor in Highgate, a ward where the party once held all three seats. She had backed calls for a ‘progressive alliance’ in seats where Tories could be defeated ahead of last week’s general election, while Labour’s winner in Hampstead and Kilburn Tulip Siddiq went as far as appearing at a Green Party meeting to urge members to stand down candidate John Mansook – or risk getting a Conservative MP. While Mr Mansook remained on the ballot paper, the party believe the publicity still led to some tactical voting.

Mr Holmes said: “Labour might be making plans to turn Camden into a one party state with 100% Labour councillors, but that would be bad for accountability and democracy and we don’t think voters want this either. And Camden Greens are more than about elections. Our members will be resuming their everyday activities within the party and other local groups aimed at making our communities healthier, more environmentally and socially sustainable places to live, and demonstrating Green politics in action.”

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