A photo of Green Party campaigners in Bristol

Members of the Green Party have backed the party leadership’s move to force a full slate of candidates at the next general election. At the party’s conference, the membership was asked to vote for a motion which gives the party’s central operation the power to force local parties to select general election candidates.

Green Party co-leaders Adrian Ramsay and Carla Denyer, a number of members of the Green Party Executive and Green peer Natalie Bennett were among the supporters of the motion.

The vote represents a significant shift in the party’s approach to elections, with the Greens having previously been major advocates of the ‘progressive alliance’ approach. While the motion does not reject the principle of alliances outright, it nonetheless seeks to prevent local parties from engaging in disaggregated local agreements. Major figures from the party also indicated their opposition to future alliances during the debate on the motion.

As a result of the motion passing, the decision on whether or not to select parliamentary candidates will no longer be held by local parties. This means that some local parties who may not have wanted to stand candidates – either to prevent financial losses as a result of deposits not being retained, or as a result of electoral alliances agreed with other parties – may be forced to do so.

Speaking in the debate on the motion, Bennett said that electoral alliances were not on the cards at the next election as “other parties [are] not coming to the table”, and that any alliance the party should consider would have to be negotiated nationally.

Meanwhile, the former co-chair of the Green Party Regional Council Adrian Spurrell told attendees that members ought to “maintain the autonomy of local parties and their ability to select candidates”.

The motion required a two thirds majority to pass as it included a change to the party’s constitution. Around 73 per cent of conference attendees backed the motion.

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This article was jointly published with Left Foot Forward

Image credit: Matthew Phillip Long – Creative Commons