Lewisham Green Party brand local election result a “blow to democracy”

Lewisham Greens speak out after Local Elections 2018. Pic: The Green Party

Lewisham Green Party has spoken out about the recent local elections, branding them “a serious blow to democracy in the borough”, after losing their only councillor and seeing Labour claim every ward.

The Greens, who lost their councillor in Brockley in the elections on May 3, argued that the lack of any opposition to Labour within the council was “undemocratic and dreadfully unrepresentative of the Lewisham that we know and love”.

Speaking after the vote, the outgoing Green Party councillor for Brockley, John Coughlin said: “I can’t imagine that those who voted Labour would think that this is good for democracy or good for Lewisham.

“They were misled by a Labour Party who didn’t let voters have the chance to hear the risks of a one-party state. Now the party has been given a blank cheque to do what the hell they want and that is clearly dangerous.”

The elections saw all 54 wards in Lewisham won by Labour councillors despite 40 per of voters opting for another party’s candidate.

Lewisham Greens managed to come third in the mayoral elections for Lewisham which also took place on the same day (and were won by Labour candidate Damien Egan) and placed second in terms of average votes per candidate in the council elections, by taking roughly 12 per cent of the votes cast.

Despite this, the Green Party remains as the borough’s opposition party.

The number of Green Party councillors in London overall went from 4 to 11 despite the party losing its one seat in Lewisham. They won 39 seats across England, 8 more than at the same elections four years ago.

Coughlin vowed to fight back, he said: “For 18 years Greens have sat on this council and during that time we’ve achieved so much that I am immensely proud of – the living wage for council workers, 20 mile per hour limits to make streets safer, opposing cuts to social care and leisure facilities, providing help to those who want be energy smart, improved cycling facilities and a key crossing for one of our busiest roads.”

“But just because we won’t have a seat on the council does not mean we will give up fighting for a better Lewisham for the people that live here. We’ll be back out on the streets and making sure that cosy and complacent Labour hear the concerns and views of residents loud and clear. This is a proudly diverse borough and that diversity deserves representation, not a monochrome council with monochrome views.”

Egan, Labour’s newly-elected Mayor of Lewisham, was approached for a comment but had yet to respond at the time of publication.

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