HOW will those talks which the Greens are ready to have with Labour over the political landscape in Hampstead and Kilburn go? Relations will surely be warmer today after Labour MP Tulip Siddiq signed a letter for the national press calling on her own party’s leadership not to field a candidate in Caroline Lucas’s Brighton Pavilion seat, or on the Isle of Wight where the Greens are best placed to beat the Conservatives.
Tulip is a co-signatory alongside fellow Camden residents, Baroness Helena-Kennedy and Polly Toynbee, as well as host of other familiar faces/usual suspects including Owen Jones, Billy Bragg and MPs Jon Cruddas and Clive Lewis. Published in the Guardian, it reads:
As Labour members and supporters we believe the party is the best vehicle to create the kind of more equal, democratic and sustainable society we want to see. But with the progressive vote split, the danger of a Tory landslide and all it means for our country now looms darkly on 8 June. It is therefore important to maximise progressive votes and campaigning in some key seats. In that respect we applaud the move made by the Green party in Ealing Central and Brighton Kemptown to stand aside and give Labour a better chance of defeating the Tories.
If Labour were to respond, not only would it be doing the right thing morally, it could unlock further positive moves from the Green party and its supporters in a swath of other seats. We therefore urge the Labour leadership not to stand candidates in just two seats, Brighton Pavilion, the one seat the Greens now hold, and the Isle of Wight, the one seat where they are the best-placed party to defeat the Tories. In both instances, Labour has no realistic hope of winning. This is both the right thing to do and helps Labour in seats where the Green vote can make the difference to our party winning or losing. Labour now has to give something back to gain even more.
The Greens were a long way behind in Hampstead and Kilburn in 2015, but they did net 2,387 votes. Needless to say, they are votes more likely to eat into the Labour score here than the Tory one.
There are a few more clues today as to what the Greens would like in return for standing down their candidate, John Mansion, the chair of the Brent Greens, however. “We have resolved to talk to Tulip Siddiq to see if we can work with her,” says Sian Berry, the Holborn and St Pancras candidate, before adding that one thing up for discussion would be the council’s pension fund investments in fossil fuel. Some Labour councillors at the Town Hall may not think that’s actually up for discussion, but there you go…
A decision on this needs to on whether the Greens stick or twist in Hampstead and Kilburn needs made in the next ten days with the local membership getting the final say before filing day.