UPDATE: Following the outcry over the decision to exclude the Green Party from the Metro Mayor debates, the Centre for Cities have released a statement saying Greens are to be invited. Read more here >>>
Darren Hall, the Green Party candidate for the West of England Metro Mayor Elections has been excluded from a hustings event.
The hustings has been organised by Centre for Cities and Business West, the region’s Chamber of Commerce, who have set criteria based on previous parliamentary election votes, even though this is for Metro Mayor which has never seen an election before.
The Green Party has been told that only four candidates will be invited, in the order of Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and UKIP. They added “If an Independent comes forward it will be based on the ‘merit’ of their chance of winning”.
Due to the criteria being based solely on votes not related to this position, UKIP would be invited over the Green Party even though the Greens have 12 elected Councillors in the combined authority compared to UKIP’s zero.
The event will also happen over two weeks before the deadline for declarations, further disenfranchising more diverse candidates.
Darren Hall has called the criteria “ill thought through” and “a disservice to democracy”
“I think this decision is doing a disservice to all the voters here and totally undermines Centre for Cities credibility as non-partisan organisation. Democracy and elections are about choice, about allowing voters to hear from all the candidates. This ill-thought through criteria based upon a set of largely irrelevant historical results does exactly the opposite; it stops the voters having an informed choice for an incredibly important new role for which all the candidates should be judged”
“I’m very surprised and disappointed that Business West seem to be supporting Centre for Cities on this issue. There has never been a Metro Mayor before and basing attendance on a completely different role makes no sense at all. The Metro Mayor will be mostly working with councils and councillors, an area that the Green Party has a proud history of succeeding in. The green agenda deserves to be properly represented.”
“The diverse nature of the politics in this area has the right to be heard and respected. I call upon the other candidates to consider their own attendance at this event as a demonstration of their support for democracy”