Greens stand aside to boost Liberal Democrats in Richmond Park and Twickenham

Posted On: 
6th May 2017

The Green party has confirmed it will not stand in Richmond Park in the coming general election, in an attempt to help the Liberal Democrats hold off the Conservatives. 

Sarah Olney celebrates her by-election victory in Richmond Park
PA Images

Former MP Zac Goldsmith is attempting to reclaim the seat he lost to Sarah Olney in last year’s by-election, when the Greens also did not put up a candidate.

The Green party has also announced it is not challenging in Twickenham, another Tory-Lib Dem marginal where former Cabinet minister Vince Cable is trying to regain the seat from Tania Mathias.

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They also will not contest Ealing Central and Acton or Brighton Kemptown to give the Labour candidates the best chance of winning.

Richard Bennett, the Green party co-chair in Richmond & Twickenham, said: “We are proud to be at the vanguard of a growing movement to create a new kind of politics.

“Progressive parties must work together to put country before party.”

The announcement comes after the Lib Dems decided to stand aside in Brighton Pavilion, the constituency of Caroline Lucas, the Greens’ only MP in the last Parliament.

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has ruled out entering into any national “progressive alliance”, with the deals instead agreed on a local basis.  

The Green candidate in Richmond Park won 3,500 votes in the 2015 general election – more than Ms Olney’s majority over Mr Goldsmith last November.

The 2,400 votes for the Greens in Twickenham was also larger than Ms Mathias’ margin over Mr Cable two years ago.

Labour has faced calls to negotiate with other so-called “progressive” parties to help stop Conservative candidates, but the leadership has refused to entertain the suggestion.

Former policy chief Jon Cruddas and ex-Shadow Cabinet frontbenchers Clive Lewis and Tulip Siddiq are among the Labour figures who put their names to a letter in The Guardian last week saying standing aside in favour of the Greens in Brighton Pavilion and the Isle of Wight would be "the right thing morally" and could stop the Tories winning a landslide.

“In both instances, Labour has no realistic hope of winning,” they wrote.

“This is both the right thing to do and helps Labour in seats where the Green vote can make the difference to our party winning or losing. Labour now has to give something back to gain even more.”