James Cox, Member of Parliament (MP) candidate for the Liberal Democrats in Bristol West, has stepped aside to make room for Carla Denyer, the Green Party candidate, as part of the Unite to Remain electoral pact.
It comes as Unite to Remain, which calls itself an “independent organisation” that is “working to build a cross-party Remain Alliance to win across the UK in a general election” announces more than sixty seats across the UK where the Liberal Democrats, Green Party, and Plaid Cymru have agreed to step aside for one another.
In a statement, Mr Cox said “With all negotiations, deals, and pacts, there is give and take. Sometimes that can be personally painful. I first got into politics because I wanted to change it. I believed and continue to believe passionately in a proportional voting system which encourages collaboration and coalitions. After the EU Referendum, I was a founding member of Paddy Ashdown’s More United because I believe in a realignment of progressive politics in our country to defeat the Tories and other illiberal forces. We as a party have vowed to do what we can to fix our broken politics.
As part of our arrangement, we will be standing aside for the Green Party in Bristol West. Whilst I am personally disappointed, I understand that many of our activists and members who have either spent decades and thousands of hours campaigning for us in Bristol West or were excited to get involved here for the first time will be hugely disappointed too. Once again, on behalf of the party, I am sorry.”
Carla Denyer, the Green Party candidate for Bristol West said on Twitter “This is about putting aside our differences in a few seats to reduce the chances of a crash out Brexit on either a Labour or Tory deal.”
An active local councillor, Ms Denyer proposed the first climate emergency motion in the UK back in November 2018. In May 2019, she also urged a successful boycott of an EU election hustings hosted by the UWE Debating Society in which a controversial UKIP candidate, Carl Benjamin, was due to speak.
Posting on Twitter, current Labour MP for Bristol West, Thangam Debbonaire, said she has “consistently and unwaveringly campaigned for us to remain in the EU. So far, due in large part to the work I have been part of as a Labour Whip, we have remained in the EU.”
Labour is not a part of the pact.
In nearby Bath, the Green Party has agreed to step aside for the Liberal Democrat candidate, Wera Hobhouse.
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