Election 2017: LibDems reject calls for electoral pact with Greens in Suffolk
PUBLISHED: 14:06 20 April 2017 | UPDATED: 12:55 24 April 2017
Senior Liberal Democrats in Suffolk have rejected a call for a “progressive alliance” with the Green Party to try to show a united front against the Conservatives in June’s general election.
The leader of the Green Party group on Suffolk County Council Mark Ereira said his party would be prepared to stand aside in South Suffolk, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, Suffolk Coastal, and West Suffolk if the Liberal Democrats gave them a free run in Ipswich, Waveney and Bury St Edmunds.
They were the three seats in the county where the Green Party gained more than the LibDems in 2015.
However Jon James from the Liberal Democrats in Suffolk said his party was planning to contest every seat in the county – and was hoping to improve on its performance in 2015.
He said: “We do share some of the same aims as the Green Party, but we have our own distinctive policies and are appealing to people who are concerned about a hard Brexit – we will be offering all voters in Suffolk the chance to vote for us.”
The leader of the LibDem group on the county council, David Wood, echoed his comments.
He said: “We are attracting new members and new voters. Why should we then turn around and tell them they cannot vote for us in the General Election?”
Mr Ereira was disappointed, but not surprised, by the response. He said: “I had hoped we could put together a progressive coalition but it looks as if in this general election we are all going to hang separately!
“As things stand I cannot see any way that the general election will give us anything other than a thumping Conservative majority and those of us who don’t want to see that won’t come together to stop it from happening.
“It’s all very disappointing.”
The situation in Suffolk mirrors that nationally – Green joint leaders Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley suggested forming a progressive alliance with other parties.
However both LibDem leader Tim Farron and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have rejected the idea of any electoral pacts – saying it was necessary to fight in every constituency.
In 2015 every Suffolk seat was held by the Conservatives and no Green or LibDem candidate won more than 9% of the vote in any constituency.