NORTH Kirklees Green Party have selected local party co-ordinator Simon Cope to stand for the Dewsbury constituency in the General Election, while diversity officer Alan Freeman will stand in Batley & Spen.
Mr Cope will be taking on Labour’s Paula Sherriff in the hope of building on the Greens’ best-ever showing in the constituency in 2015. He is a former council candidate for Dewsbury West and has promised to pursue several key pledges as part of a “Green Guarantee” from the party, including better rail links to the town and opposing HS2.
He said: “This would be a part of a wider campaign to cut pollution and improve air quality in the area. According to official government statistics, over 300 people die in Kirklees every year from the effects of pollution, a very large number of them in Dewsbury.
“Imagine if that was people murdered or killed by terrorism – there would rightfully be an outcry. Greens will put an end to this invisible killer.”
And Mr Freeman agrees that the environment is a very important issue.
He said: “As a Green Party candidate, of course, the environment is of primary importance to me, but not as an isolated issue.
“When we talk about the economy, education, health, defence, housing, employment, Brexit and so on, the impact and ramifications of the environment should be taken into consideration.
“It is after all our habitat. It is the thing that allows us to live and breathe and eat, and it is under terrible and urgent threat.
“I want to act so that my son and his children have similar or better lives and opportunities than we have now.”
The Green Party wants higher taxes on the very richest, but a living wage of at least £10 per hour and proper support for vulnerable people such as the disabled, the elderly, and less well-off families.
Mr Cope also wants equal votes for all, claiming that electoral reform and a more democratic voting system is vital. The Tories won the last election with just over one in three of the votes.
“Only once in the last 50 years has the Dewsbury MP won more than half of the votes,” said Mr Cope.
“In proper, democratic terms, we have not had a legitimate MP here since then, nor for over 30 years before then. It is time for a change in the system.
“It doesn’t mean ending the link between MPs and local areas, but it does mean for the first time everyone’s votes counting equally.”
Mr Freeman added: “For too long now we’ve had a bunch of political careerists from privileged backgrounds, on all sides of the political spectrum, running this country.
“I became active in politics because I am tired of seeing our country run by politicians who have never had a ‘proper job’.”