Following a cross-party agreement with the Labour candidate, the Green Party Candidate for Bristol North West, Sharmila Bousa, has announced that she will step down from local campaigning for the duration of the general election period with immediate effect. Here is her statement:
After several weeks of discussion with Labour’s Bristol North West candidate, Darren Jones, agreement has been reached by both of us on a joint policy based programme. This ground-breaking agreement, unique in Bristol political history, paves the way for joint working between our two parties and increases the prospect of electing a progressive pro-European, pro-electoral reform MP for Bristol North West.
Proposals put forward by the Green Party and now agreed by both candidates are based around three key policy commitments:
A commitment by Mr Jones to support a jointly agreed Brexit policy. As a pro-European candidate, Mr Jones will call for a referendum on the final Brexit deal if it is rejected by parliament – giving the British people the choice on which direction their country takes, once the alternatives can be clearly seen. This reflects the majority vote to remain in the Bristol North West constituency - as expressed in the recent EU referendum. – a vote ignored by the Conservative candidate.
A commitment by Mr Jones to campaign and vote for electoral reform including the adoption of a truly proportional system of representation for UK General Elections and other local and regional elections. This will include actively campaigning to change the voting system so that the make-up of parliament and other elected assemblies more accurately reflects the voting patterns of the UK electorate.
A commitment by Mr Jones to regular meetings with Bristol Green Party representatives during his term of office to discuss issues that are of particular concern to the Green Party. These include: improving air quality, increasing the levels of social rent housing, developing renewable energy schemes, expanding energy efficiency programmes, protecting the environment, and reducing inequalities.
In these meetings, we will be looking to encourage Mr Jones to support the Bristol Green Party’s 5-point plan to clean up Bristol’s air and to work co-operatively with us to ensure that Bristol leads the way in tackling the effects of poor air quality on the health of its citizens.
We will also be looking to commitments by Mr Jones on increasing the levels of social rent and energy efficient housing, and increasing investment in the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency schemes in Bristol North West.
In return for the above agreed commitments, I have agreed to step down from campaigning in Bristol North West. This means I will do no freepost leafleting, make no Bristol North West specific hustings appearances, do no doorstep canvassing and no delivery of election leaflets during this General Election campaign in the Bristol North West constituency.
My decision to step aside from active campaigning has not been taken lightly, however I live in the heart of this constituency and I know that people here want the progressive parties to work together. I believe that this is an extraordinary election called in unprecedented circumstances, and its outcome will have an unprecedented impact on our futures.
We need new ways of thinking and new ways of doing politics. Sometimes that requires people to make sacrifices for the greater good and to put party politics to one side. Darren has made several concessions on policy, which I trust his backers and wider party support, and in return I am making the concession of immediately withdrawing from active campaigning in Bristol North West.
Our joint aim is to deliver a progressive MP for Bristol North West better able to represent ALL of its people.