Green Party sets sights on Tory parliamentary constituency as spring conference opens

Ellie Chowns is hoping to unseat a Tory MP in North Herefordshire

Ellie Chowns speaking at Green Party Conference

Members of the Green Party of England and Wales are currently meeting in Birmingham for their spring conference. Throughout the weekend, the party will be debating its policies on a range of issues, including HS2 and NATO. 

The conference was opened by Ellie Chowns, a former MEP for the West Midlands and the Greens’ candidate for the North Herefordshire constituency. High up on the Greens list of potential target seats in the next general election, North Herefordshire has been strongly Conservative since it was created in 2010.

The sitting MP is Bill Wiggin, who has faced criticism for his outside interests, especially related to second jobs. He has earned thousands of pounds through his work as managing director of a Bermuda based finance company. 

In 2019, Chowns received 9 per cent of the vote in North Herefordshire – one of the highest Green votes in the country. 

In her speech to the conference, Chowns was bullish about the Green Party’s chances of winning the seat from the Tories at the next election. 

“We do need more Greens in power at every level – at Councils and also in Westminster. We need more Green MPs alongside Caroline Lucas working for a better country. And in North Herefordshire, we have a fantastic opportunity to win a Green seat from a Conservative.”

She continued by saying the seat was one of the “top targets for the Green Party nationally”. She said: “The Conservative incumbent has been there for 22 years. He’s complacent. He’s widely considered to have done very little for the constituency. He works on the side as a director of a financial management company based in a tax haven.” 

Saying that the Greens “really can win” the seat, she told attendees that “Conservative support has evaporated – it really has. Labour and the Lib Dems know that they can’t win here. And the Greens have been going from strength to strength over recent years.”

Presently, the Green Party has just one MP – Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion. However, the party has been increasingly confident about winning additional seats at the next election, with party co-leader Carla Denyer hoping to win a seat in Bristol. 

The latest opinion polls have the Greens hovering around 5 per cent of the vote nationally. One poll – from People Polling – put support for the Greens at 10 per cent. 

Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward

This article was published jointly with Bright Green.

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