Updated Southampton and District Green Party has said it won't after all stand a candidate against Dr Alan Whitehead of Labour in the forthcoming general election in the Southampton Test constituency, which includes Portswood, St Denys and Highfield.
Green Party spokesperson Jonathan Martin said in a statement on Tuesday evening:
“In the absence of a fair voting system in UK general elections, we have had to consider all the ways we can promote the chances of returning MPs to Parliament that share our values. Alan Whitehead, personally, has a consistent record of supporting Green issues and we have therefore concluded that, given the unique circumstances of this election, opposing him would not be in the best interests of residents and voters in this closely contested seat. There are important differences between the positions of the Labour Party and the Green Party on key issues. However, and reluctantly, we have decided that the extent of shared values with Dr Whitehead, and the risk of a Conservative victory in this seat should the progressive vote be split, justifies withdrawing our candidate in favour of this particular Labour candidate
"We as a party would like to thank Katherine Barbour, our selected candidate, for her willingness to stand down for the greater good. We very much hope that she will stand for a future election."
Commenting on the decision to withdraw her candidacy, Katherine Barbour, left, said:“Matters of common interest have been discussed between our Green and Labour officials and candidates.We have gained assurances on several local policies of importance to Green voters and supporters. These include pursuing our concerns on local air pollution, supporting the ‘Love Our Waterfront’ cross-party campaign,launched by the Green Party, which seeks to improve public access to Southampton Waterfront, and demanding proportional representation at a national level”.
The party says it will still be running in Southampton Itchen, Romsey and Southampton North, Eastleigh and many other local seats including the Isle of Wight.
At the last general election in 2015 Alan Whitehead held Southampton Test for Labour, in fact increasing the party's majority to 3,810 over the Conservatives. The voting was as follows:
Liberal Democrats 2121
UKIP have suggested they won't be standing a candidate for Test in this election, although we won't know the choices on the ballot paper for sure until later in the week.
More general election campaign coverage soon.