Standing down? If you have an opinion, read this first!

17 November 2019

The background and the current situation 

The two Green Party candidates for MK North and South were contacted by the two Labour Party candidates for MK North and South by email on the evening of Monday 11th Nov, two days before the Greens were due to hand in their nominations. 

The Labour candidates requested that the Green Party candidates stand down and instead support their campaigns. 

There was no offer of a deal, such as Labour standing down in other seats.  The Greens sought clarification that there was no quid pro quo and this was confirmed by the Labour candidates.  The Greens declined to stand down.

This has been misrepresented by many Labour supporters on social media as the Greens refusing to do a deal and not being cooperative. 

There was no deal on offer, so it is impossible for the Greens to have refused it.  Greens were willing to cooperate but there has to be something on the table for both sides. 

In order to respond to the accusations and untruths flying about on social media the Greens have decided to publish the response that the Green candidates sent to the Labour candidates explaining why they would not be standing down. 

Reply to Labour candidates

Sent on 12 Nov 2019, at 22:06.

Bolding and underlining added for web publication.

Dear Charlynne and Hannah,

Thanks for your emails which we have considered carefully.  However, after discussing them with colleagues, we have decided that we will not be standing down.

Greens are willing to cooperate with other parties and stand down in some seats with the other parties standing down in our favour in some other seats.  As we are sure you are aware the Green Party has been part of the Unite to Remain agreement with Lib Dems and Plaid Cymru.  We have stood down in about 50 seats with the other parties standing down for us in 10 seats.

In the 2017 general election the Green Party tried to promote a Progressive Alliance, standing down in several seats, but got no cooperation from the Labour Party.  So we are willing to enter such negotiations and agreements.  However, there has to be some reciprocity from the other parties with whom we negotiate.  As your second email makes clear, you are unable to offer any reciprocity.  We understand that is down to the position of your national leadership.

You list a number of policies that you claim we have in common.  True in most cases but not in all.

While we welcome your commitment to a Green New Deal, an idea first promoted by the Green Party more than 10 years ago, we are concerned that many Labour MPs and councils are still supporting road building and airport expansion.  We see them as incompatible with achieving zero carbon emissions by 2030.

We note that in the policies that you list there is no mention of Proportional Representation.  Support for PR, by both the Green candidates and their party, is a red line for us.

The undemocratic FPTP [First Past The Post] voting system is what has got us into this mess.  If we had had PR for Parliamentary elections over the last decade or two it is highly unlikely that there would have been a referendum on Brexit.  If we had PR for this election then parties, of the left and of the right, would not be having to consider pacts and asking each other to stand down, reducing the choice for the electorate.

Labour has been avoiding dealing with this issue.  Shortly after Tony Blair became PM he set up the Jenkins Commission.  It recommended a proportional system, AV+.  However, over the following 11 years in government Labour failed to implement this recommendation or have a referendum on it.

We note on social media that the people who were going to stand as Brexit candidates, but were withdrawn yesterday by the dictator of the Brexit Party, may stand as independents.  That is another unknown but obviously would be helpful to you if they do stand.

If we had had more time it would have been useful to sit down with you and talk things through face to face.  Nominations close on Thursday so unfortunately there is no time for clarification of these issues or discussions with you.

As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. We would like to dance with you, but its difficult for you to tango when your dancing shoes have been nailed to the floor by your party leadership team.

Kind regards

Catherine Rose, Parliamentary candidate for Milton Keynes North

Alan Francis, Parliamentary candidate for Milton Keynes South

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