A photo of placards being raised at Westminster that read "Vote Green Party"

I have recently, on 19 July, the hottest day ever recorded in the UK, defected to the Green Party and am delighted to be part of an inclusive hard working group of Green Councillors at Peterborough City Council.

The decision came after realising over the past couple of years that Labour no longer reflects the values and principles that attracted me to the party in 2015. Since the new leadership of The Labour Party in 2020, local parties in Peterborough have been decimated by suspensions, expulsions and resignations as new dictatorial rules were introduced about what members were allowed to be debate or have opinions on. Recent parliamentary selections blocked local candidates from the long list – even a former MP – with regional party choices parachuted into position. In short, democracy has been removed and in many areas, local parties no longer exist and therefore members cannot be part of making local decisions or select candidates.

I considered myself to be on the left of the party, the side which embodies traditional Labour values, and those of us who worked hard as key activists over many years have been targeted and purged by the right – where the party has moved to now. Many of these divisive actions be seen in the recently published Forde Report. It is stressful being in this position particularly after giving many years to campaigning, and therefore I did not want to waste time in this position any longer. A democratic party should not be run in this way and should be focussing on more important issues which can benefit the wider population and bring about social and economic justice.

I joined Labour originally to fight for a fairer society and I can continue to do this through the Green Party and its excellent policies. The Green Party’s policies and values can help create fairer greener communities. I feel I have found my home, because Green policies align much closer to my views and I feel part of a team working in the city’s interest with a spirit of collaboration. The Green Party does not operate a whip system which means Green Councillors can vote according to their conscience and beliefs and what they see as in the interests of their residents, which I see as much fairer, democratic and progressive. I am therefore delighted that the Green Party in Peterborough has welcomed me to join their strong team. We are three Councillors altogether and hope to win further seats next year when I am up for re election. I have always felt closely aligned to the Green group on the council and look forward to continuing to work hard for local residents with the formal support of the Green Party.

As a local Councillor I have already been involved in many environmental and neighbourhood projects, demonstrating my absolute commitment to my local community. I have, for example, been instrumental in rejuvenating community flower beds and seeking to reduce use of harmful herbicides through a council motion in 2021. I will seek to continue this work beyond 2023.

I live sustainably as a vegetarian, growing my own food and recycling all food waste via keeping rescue hens, and I am passionate about encouraging more sustainable lifestyles including using renewable energy – I have just had solar panels fitted on my roof!

We are facing severe social and economic issues – inflation and a cost of living crisis – which are bearing down on low income families. We also continue to face a worsening climate crisis. Greens know that we can tackle the cost of living and the climate crisis in combination through, for example, insulating homes which will slash energy bills.

I am looking forward to working with my Green colleagues on the council and getting to know other Green Councillors and members and to working for the things that matter – social and environmental justice and a fairer society.

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Image credit: Bristol Green Party – Public Domain