Greens: Richmond by-election ‘a real chance’ for progressives to beat Tories

Decision on whether to stand a Green candidate will fall to local party


The Green Party has welcomed the news that Labour is debating progressive cooperation in the Richmond by-election triggered by Zac Goldsmith’s resignation.

A spokesperson for co-leaders Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley reiterated their commitment to ‘progressives working together to beat the Conservatives’, but said the Greens’ approach to the by-election would depend on the input of the local party.

The spokesperson told Left Foot Forward:

“Jonathan and Caroline are longstanding advocates of progressives working together to beat the Conservatives, and they welcome the news that Labour is now having these discussion too. This by-election could be a real chance to reduce the Conservative majority in Parliament, and replace a candidate disgraced by his racist campaign to be Mayor of London.

At the core of any agreement must be local decision making, so the Green Party leadership will be meeting with the local members to discuss their plans, and it will be those members who have a final say. Needless to say any such discussion doesn’t discount from the fact that the Green Party maintains distinct positions from both Labour and the Lib Dems — specifically we are the only party to say ‘no’ to airport expansion across the UK.”

Writing for LabourList this morning, Labour MPs Clive Lewis, Lisa Nandy and Jonathan Reynolds argued that the party should not stand a candidate in the by-election, giving the Liberal Democrats the best possible chance of beating Goldsmith.

They write:

“If there is any chance of kicking Goldsmith out of Parliament, the vote against him must not be split. That’s why we think Labour should consider not standing a candidate in this by-election.”

They emphasise that the arrangement would not be a ‘free ride’ for the Lib Dems, since ‘there may well be seats where Labour (or possibly the Greens) could be given a clear run against their Tory opponents, with local consent.’

Earlier this year, Lucas and Nandy co-edited a book on progressive cooperation, to which Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron contributed a chapter.

Farron visited Richmond today, emphasising that the Lib Dems will be throwing huge support and resources behind its candidate, Sarah Olney.

Despite the call from Nandy, Lewis and Reynolds, Labour has confirmed that it will stand a candidate.

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