Archive for Lancaster

Former Labour Chairperson backs Greens in Lancaster by-election

I just saw this from UK Polling Report, I hope Gareth Webb doesn’t mind me posting it here:

“All the signs are that Ian Chamberlain will take the seat for the Green Party – I wish him good luck. As the ex Chairperson of the Labour Party Constituency of Lancastr & Fleetwood, I resigned my membership of Labour (disgusted with Iraq and the expenses scandal). I recently joined the Green Party in Lancaster and am working hard to convince floating voters to use their vote wisely on 1st April and vote GREEN. It is the only option in Lancaster, progression, transparency, accountability and above all honesty and real connection with the electorate. This IS the Green Party & Ian Chamberlain has my full support and backing and of course my VOTE on 1st April 2010. He will make a formidable city councillor. I urge anybody who is ‘unsure’ to vote GREEN on 1st April 2010.”

For those of you who might be interested, Gareth comes from a family with a proud commitment to progressive politics, his grandfather was Maurice Webb, the Food Minister in the 1945 Labour Government.

Well done, Gareth, it’s great to have you in the Greens.

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Can the Greens make it 3 in 4 weeks?

March has been a pretty good month for the Greens. We’ve taken our third town council seat in less than a year in Totnes , an amazing feat for any local party. I’m prepared to say that Totnes might even become a potential Green target seat in 2014 and might well be the party’s best chance of taking a Parliamentary seat off the Tories. Time will tell, of course.

However, last night saw Mid-Suffolk Greens take the Haughley and Wetherden council seat off the Tories with a whopping 61% of the vote, a 33.2% net swing from the Tories since the 2007 local elections. The Independent has called it a “bombshell on major parties”, whilst The Evening Standard hailed the win as a “shock” to the main parties so close to a General Election. Jim Jepps has the full breakdown of the results.

The Mid-Suffolk district council win comes off the back of the Greens getting a second Councillor Dean Walton after a Babergh district councillor resigned the Tory whip and joined the Greens. Quite the conversion and not one we’re particularly used to, but a welcomed addition to the growing ranks of Green councillors in the country.

On April 1st, less than a week away, voters in the John O’Gaunt ward in Lancaster go to the polls to elect a new city councillor following the resignation of a Labour councillor. Ian Chamberlain has been selected as the Green Party candidate and is keen to join fellow Green and current John O’Gaunt councillor, Jude Towers. If the Greens win the by-election they will become the largest party in the Lancaster and Fleetwood constituency with a total of 13 seats. However, Lancaster and Fleetwood is a Labour ‘must hold’ and a Tory ‘must win’ if they wish to form a majority Government.

The by-election represents the last challenge for either Labour, the Tories or the Greens, to throw down their marker at this election. A Green win will only reinforce the idea that many voters are tired of Labour and the Conservatives and are seeking a different kind of change to the one being talked-up by David Cameron. A Labour win would give the party a much-needed boost of morale before an election is called and for the Tories, a win would represent a turn around in their recent misfortunes.

In the words of Greg Wallace, “it doesn’t get much tougher than this.”

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Lancaster Greens on the verge of becoming joint largest party

On April 1st (and no, this is not an early April Fool’s), Lancaster Green Party have a unique opportunity to become the joint largest party on the Lancaster City Council.

The by-election has  been called after the resignation of Councilor James Blakely, one of the two Labour councilors in the John O’Gaunt ward. The other seat is held by the Green Party’s Jude Towers, who took the seat off Labour in the 2007 city council elections.

Already the Greens have 12 councilors, Labour 14, Conservative 12, Morecombe Bay Indepedents 11, Liberal Democrats 5 and 5 Independents. A Green win from Labour will see them have 13 seats each.

The by-election is not just winnable for the Greens, it’s very winnable and, if they win, they will be the joint largest party on Lancaster city council. This is incredibly exciting for the Lancaster Greens as this will be the first time ever that Green councilors will be the largest party on any council, albeit jointly.

This is an opportunity that the Greens cannot afford to miss. By winning the seat, especially so close to a General Election, and becoming a majority party, we can prove to voters going into the polls be it in Lancaster, Brighton, Norwich or elsewhere, that the Green Party is the party with momentum, with the ideas to capture voters aspirations, but also with the muscle to deliver. Opportunities like this cannot be bought but, they can certainly be won.

I would suggest to Greens, everywhere, that if you can, take the time to make the trip to Lancaster. Wouldn’t it be rather special that just before we win our first MPs to Westminster, we also take our first council? As I said, it’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.

I’m going to be breaking from the norm and start keeping an eye on how things develop in Lancaster, I reckon we could be in for quite a treat.

So, do what you can to help them, either get on the train and knock on some doors, make a kindly gift to help the campaign a long or, in the words of Jim Jepps, you could start blogging for victory, #FirstGreenCouncil for the win!

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