Now UKIP join the election battle ... and Greens battle for selection

Issue 661

UKIP and the Green Party are close to picking local candidates as the general election hots up in the district.

UKIP officials ratified the creation of a Dewsbury, Batley and Spenborough branch on November 3.

It will be the springboard for the Euro-sceptic party to pick candidates once a committee is voted in at a Dewsbury Town Hall meeting on Thursday December 4.

Greg Burrows, who stood in the Dewsbury East ward at May’s council election, could become branch chairman.

He is considering a bid to be the candidate for Dewsbury and Mirfield, but would prefer not to if he is voted in as branch chairman.

UKIP hope to announce nominees for both seats by early next year following internal hustings.

Mr Burrows, who pushed the Tories into third place in Dewsbury East in May, denied a UKIP candidate would open the door for Labour.

He said: “That’s what (MP) Simon Reevell’s saying, that a vote for UKIP is effectively a vote for Ed Miliband.

“But that’s not what our figures in Dewsbury East showed. We took more votes from Labour.

“The Tory vote was hardly any different but Labour lost 500. I therefore think Mr Reevell is pushing the wrong wing.”

He added: “The Greens, who’ve not had a strong presence here before, have also launched a branch.

“Clearly they think there’s an opportunity for them to win more votes given the dissatisfaction there seems to be with the main parties.”

The state of Dewsbury could be a factor and Mr Burrows said: “The town’s become so depressed in the last 20 years.

“People seem to think the Tories and Labour haven’t done anything and so they might be prepared to give smaller parties a chance.”

Nominations for a Green candidate in Dewsbury and Mirfield close on Monday and a result is expected early next month.

The party is also likely to have a parliamentary candidate for Batley and Spen after the New Year.

Simon Cope and Adrian Cruden are among those vying for the nod in Dewsbury and Mirfield.

They stood in May’s council elections, with Mr Cope polling 548 votes in Dewsbury West and Mr Cruden getting 260 in Dewsbury South.

In both wards the Greens beat the Lib Dems, who are also yet to name their parliamentary candidates.

So far only incumbent Tory Mr Reevell and Labour challenger Paula Sherriff are declared in Dewsbury and Mirfield.

Labour’s Jo Cox and Tory rival Imtiaz Ameen are the only ones confirmed for Batley and Spen.

A survey for Tory peer Lord Ashcroft in August suggested the likely Green vote in Dewsbury and Mirfield had tripled.

Mr Cruden said: “We’ve also seen our membership soar in line with an 80 per rise nationally.

“Our agenda locally is about reviving our towns’ prosperity, sharing that fairly and creating real local democracy.

“Nationally, we’re against the austerity drive of recent years. We’d invest in public services for health, low cost transport and clean energy.

“All of these should be brought back into public ownership and be about people, not profit.

“We’d pay for it by making the richest one per cent pay their fair share of tax instead of salting it away overseas.”

Asked if the Greens could do well at the election Mr Cruden said: “We’re very optimistic in Dewsbury.

“We stood in all wards and polled strongly across the constituency at the council elections.

“We took one in every eight votes, close to 4,000 people, and finished far ahead of the Lib Dems.”

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