Local elections profile: 'Give us a chance' Greens urge voters as party promises to hold Wakefield Council to climate change pledge

Wakefield's Green Party has urged voters to "give us a chance" to break the two-party stranglehold on local politics.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 12:09 pm
From left to right: Green Party spokespeople Dan Russell, Ruth Love and Lyn Morton.
From left to right: Green Party spokespeople Dan Russell, Ruth Love and Lyn Morton.

The Greens insist they are "not going to go away", with the climate change agenda increasingly occupying the minds of the public.

For the first time ever, the party is fielding candidates in every single ward in the Wakefield district next week, something no-one else beyond Labour and the Conservatives can boast.

In a pre-election pitch to residents, the Greens say they believe their policies are popular with the electorate and sense they're one big push away from having a district councillor elected.

The Greens say they believe their policies are popular with the electorate.

"Give us a chance," spokeswoman Lyn Morton said.

"We’ve got a different voice and a different attitude to things.

"Wakefield Council’s declared a climate emergency and say they’re doing something about it, but are they really?

"Would it not be helpful to have a Green sat on the council holding them to account and making sure they do what they say they’re going to do?"

The party is contesting every seat in Wakefield for the first time.

Fellow candidate Dan Russell believes people "are becoming more aware of the immediate need for action on climate change".

He said: "As the Green Party I think we’d be best set with our core principles to provide action on that.

"You see more in the press in 2021 than you did in 2011 about the need for change and I think we need someone there that can push that forward and make people aware of what the council is doing, or not doing."

The party has bristled at the suggestion this week by the council's Labour group leader, Denise Jeffery, that her party are now "greener than the Greens", in reference to the authority's carbon neutral and biodiversity pledges.

They're also frustrated at one common line of attack - that backing them splits the left-wing vote and lets in the Conservatives through the back door.

"That’s always the argument!" Ms Morton said.

"It always has been as long as I’ve been part of the Green Party.

"Think about why we keep voting for Labour and the Tories and what happens? They get in and spend 10, 20 years undoing everything the other side did.

"It’s like the Republicans and the Democrats. It’s just playing ping-pong with people’s lives.

"People need to try something different, vote for the other parties."

The Greens have stressed their desire to improve the "rubbish" public transport network, emphasising a need for better links between Wakefield and Hemsworth in particular.

They've also calling for better contracts for social care workers and believe the council's Local Plan, which is likely to see more than 22,000 homes built across the district by 2036, is incompatible with its climate change pledge because "it eats into the green belt".

Local party secretary Ruth Love said contesting every seat would help to bridge a "credibility gap" she believed the Greens had.

She said: "The government’s not doing enough. Green polices are cheap. Renewable energy is cheap, why are we not doing it?

"We need fewer cars on the road. Everything that’s a Green policy is good for you. Buying local from your local shop, what’s wrong with that?

"The only way people will start believing we're credible - because we've got policies on everything and not just climate change - is if we're standing across the board. And we've managed it!"

This article is part of a series of profile pieces about the political parties and independent candidates standing in the local elections in Wakefield. Each profile will be published on our websites in turn in the run-up to polling day.

Green Party candidates standing by ward (you can view the names of all parties and candidates standing in your area here)

Ackworth, North Elmsall and Upton - Jody Gabriel

Airedale and Ferry Fryston (two councillors to be elected) - John Ingham and Daniel Russell

Altofts and Whitwood - Brenden Beckett

Castleford Central and Glasshoughton - Alan Horne

Crofton, Ryhill and Walton - Cynthia Dickinson

Featherstone - Ruth Love

Hemsworth - Lyn Morton

Horbury and South Ossett - Richard Hargreaves

Knottingley - Garry Newby

Normanton - Gillian Dewey-Nager

Ossett - Stephen Scott

Pontefract North - Emma Tingle

Pontefract South - Katherine Dodd

South Elmsall and South Kirkby - Stefan Ludewig

Stanley and Outwood East - Richard Copeland

Wakefield East - Janet Mackintosh

Wakefield North - Lewis Elliott

Wakefield Rural - Charlotte Myles

Wakefield South - Krys Holmes

Wakefield West - Karen Sadler

Wrenthorpe and Outwood West - Oliver Thompson

Local Democracy Reporting Service