The Greens and the Brexit Party will not field candidates in Hastings and Rye at the next General Election.
The Brexit Party’s Tom Bewick announced this morning on Twitter that he would now contest the Dagenham and Rainham seat in Essex. And a spokesman for The Hastings Green Party confirmed this afternoon that they will not contest the seat either.
A spokesman for the party confirmed: “Hastings Green party will not be standing a candidate in a general election under the current political circumstances.
“However, the party will not be entering into any kind of pact, deal, or agreement with any other party and does not endorse any other party. Members will instead prioritise their local campaigning work and the party will be standing a full slate of candidates in the May 2020 borough council elections in Hastings.”
That final sentence will come as a blow to local Liberal Democrats who had been hoping to make a deal with the Greens over next May’s borough council elections.
Labour’s Peter Chowney spoke to Green Party members in Hastings on Thursday night and it’s understood that after that talk the Green Party decided not field a candidate.
But former Brighton councillor Tom Bewick’s announcement this morning on Twitter that he will not contest the election is attributed to Amber Rudd’s decision to quit.
Mr Bewick wrote: “BREAKING NEWS: Following the resignation of Amber Rudd in Hastings and Rye the @brexitparty has moved me to fight the 70 per cent leave voting seat of Dagenham…”
It was only in August that Mr Bewick was selected to oppose Conservative arch-remainer Amber Rudd. At the time he said coastal communities like Hastings were ‘crying out’ for investment and that the town had been ‘failed’ by both main political parties for ‘decades’.
Responding to Mr Bewick’s announcement leader of the Conservative group on Hastings Borough Council Rob Lee wrote: “Great commitment to Hastings and Rye you’ve demonstrated there Tom.”
While no announcement has yet been made on who the new Conservative candidate will be it is expected to be someone who supports the Brexit cause which would have meant standing a Brexit Party candidate in opposition would have been seen as politically counter productive.
For the Greens, they held a selection meeting last month and although a prospective candidate was selected no announcement of who it was, was ever made. Then this week it became known that the Greens has asked Labour prospective parliamentary candidate Peter Chowney along to talk to the membership.
Mr Chowney told Hastings In Focus today: “I’m very pleased that Hastings and Rye Green Party has decided not to field a candidate in the next general election. They made the decision after I addressed a Green Party meeting, and explained what policies I supported, and how the need to prevent climate change was, in my view, by far the most important issue facing humankind.
“I outlined other policies I’d be promoting too – including support for proportional representation – whether they decided to stand aside or not.
“I was very grateful for the support and help I got from Green Party members in 2017, helping me to come within 346 votes of winning the constituency for Labour. I look forward to working with Green Party members again in the forthcoming general election, whenever that should be.”
While it’s likely that other fringe candidates will throw their hats into the ring nearer the time it’s coming down to a three way battle for Hastings and Rye between Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
This morning Nick Perry, the Lib Dems prospective parliamentary candidate said: “With the new Conservative candidate being Brexit Party-endorsed, Hastings and Rye now has a clear choice between a hardline pro-Brexit Tory, and a Stop Brexit Liberal Democrat.
“The Labour Party has confirmed at their Brighton Conference that they will tell us their position on this pivotal issue after the General Election.”
- From earlier this week – follow these links to read more