Green Party candidate abandons Westminster bid to help Lib Dems win in Weston

The Weston Mercury has the story:

THE Green Party’s Weston candidate has withdrawn from the General Election contest before it has even begun – because he wants the Liberal Democrats to win. Dr Richard Lawson had been nominated by his party to fight the Weston seat currently held by Conservative John Penrose. But Dr Lawson has today announced his decision to withdraw his candidacy ‘to increase the chance of the Liberal Democrats taking the seat’. …

[Dr Lawson] said: “”My candidature was founded on the idea that Weston was a safe Conservative win. That platform becomes shaky if Weston becomes vulnerable to a LibDem gain.

“I could not live with myself if the Greens in Weston got, say, 1,000 votes, and the Tory won by a margin of 100 votes over the LibDem, and David Cameron formed a Government with an overall majority of one.

“Unlikely as that might be, it is incontrovertible that there is a big overlap between Green voters and LibDem voters, and in that situation, I would have been responsible for putting a Tory Government in power.”

Mike Bell, the Lib Dem candidate for Weston, has welcomed the move:

I obviously welcome Dr Lawson’s decision. Weston is a marginal seat and Dr Lawson confirms that the choice here is between myself and our sitting Conservative MP. Many people view the prospect of a Conservative majority at Westminster with concern, especially when we have seen what real Conservative leadership looks like in our own Town Hall. I am determined to give local people a chance to vote for real change at the General Election and, for the first time in our history, send a Westonian to Westminster.”

At the 2005 general election, Lib Dem Brian Cotter was narrowly defeated by Mr Penrose:

    John Penrose, Conservative 19,804 40.3%
    Brian Cotter, Liberal Democrat 17,725 36.1%
    Others 25%

It would take a swing of just 2.2% for the Lib Dems to regain Weston.

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15 Comments

  • Matthew Huntbach 1st Mar '10 - 10:15pm

    I suppose we have to be nice to him seeing as he’s helped us out here.

    But it seems a bit thick, becoming PPC for a seat only narrowly won from back the LibDems by the Tories in the last election and then saying “Oh, I thought this was a safe Tory seat”.

  • From what I recall, Richard Lawson was one of the first elected Green councillors. He joined the Party in its early days, when it was known as the “Ecology Party” and was focused on “the planet”, long before it turned into a kind of popular front for disillusioned Labourites. As I understand it, the Lib Dem candidate isn’t exactly short of environmental credentials.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 1st Mar '10 - 11:38pm

    From that blog:
    “Personal note:
    Damn. Damn damn damn. We live in a stinking, smearing, offensive system that is worse than sh*tty, because you can turn that into fertiliser. The present political system needs radical reform, and I was lining up to argue for that in the political debate, but the risk of making things worse was too great. Greens are excluded from the political system by the vote, and by substantial exclusion from the broadcast political debate.”

  • As others have suggested, the best way for the Green party to adviance would be if there were proportional representation at Westminster. This is best acheived by getting as many Liberal Demcorats elected as possible,

  • Geoffrey Pane – the Green Party shelters a broad church of opinion. There are some overlaps in terms of policy outcome with some Lib Dem policies. There is also a strand of politics within the Greens that stands foresquare at odds with Liberal principles. This latter strand is not generally recognised by the average voter who would no doubt be surprised by it.

    Concern for the environment and Green Party politics are NOT the same thing; and their eroneous conflation in the mind of the public is one reason why they have benefitted electorally in recent years.

  • Matthew Huntbach 3rd Mar '10 - 10:29am

    The commentariat decided that Cameron had made his party “green” based on almost nothing but Cameron saying so, and perhaps the selection as PPC in one constituency of some non-dom millionaire who is a poseur on these issues but has the sort of uselessness when it comes to real practical policies you’d expect from someone whose attachment to the real life most people lead is minimal, and who loves his money and wouldn’t want any of that sacrificed to save the world.

    People complain about the Greens being authoritarian. I say that’s fine. They aren’t liberals, so why should we expect them to be? Personally, I think their problem is that they spend too much time being liberals and not enough time being environmentalists. Their job in a politically plural world is to put the urgency of green action, even if this means suggesting authoritarian things in order to save worse disasters later. It’s our job as liberals to criticise that and put the case for amending those plans to deal with anything too authoritarian.

    The main problem with the Greens, however, is their anti-science attitudes. The Green cause is fundamentally scientific. It is based on science showing we are heading for disaster, it requires a good understanding of science to see that properly and come up with good ways of handling it. But too many Greens are fuzzy-headed people who reject the sort of clear logical thinking we need to deal with the crisis.

  • Would you make the same criticism of Lib Dems? Do they reject logical thinking too much?

  • Matthew Huntbach 3rd Mar '10 - 9:41pm


    Would you make the same criticism of Lib Dems? Do they reject logical thinking too much?

    I think if you look over my posts, you will see I have plenty of criticisms of the Liberal Democrats. I think you will find I am not a “my party, right or wrong” man. However, there are plenty among the top in the LibDems who I do respect for their ability to use logical reasoning, whereas I find it hard to think of anyone in the Greens who hits me as a solid thinker.

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