Key by-election called - Green Party leader visits Norwich North

30 June 2009

The leader of the Green Party, Dr Caroline Lucas MEP, will be in Norwich today (Tuesday 30 June) for the first official day of campaigning in the Norwich North by-election.

In the 2009 European elections, the Green Party secured more votes than any other party in the Norwich City Council area, gaining 25% of the vote. Local councillor and university teacher Dr Rupert Read, who narrowly missed election to the European Parliament this month, has been selected as the party's candidate for Norwich North.

Rupert Read said today:

“After the gloom of the economic downturn and the scandal surrounding MPs expenses, which has sullied all three main parties, the Greens are offering a fresh new approach.

“For the first time ever, the national spotlight will be on the Green Party in a byelection campaign and our prospects are being taken extremely seriously. The big three parties have everything to lose. The Green Party has everything to gain.”

Caroline Lucas' schedule for the day includes a visit to an NHS walk-in centre threatened with closure.

Caroline Lucas' itinerary

1145: Caroline Lucas visits the NHS walk-in health centre at Dussindale. More than five and a half thousand patients and medical staff have petitioned against plans by the Primary Care Trust for Norfolk to close this popular centre.The PCT intends to provide instead a polyclinic, probably in a city centre location, offering GP services and some hospital treatments. Rupert Read says: "Polyclinics are a Trojan horse for privatisation of the NHS. Only the Green Party stands firm against such privatisation and that's one reason why we are standing up for the Dussindale walk-in centre, which works brilliantly, just as it is."

1215: Caroline Lucas joins Green Party activists canvassing in Primrose Crescent, a short walk from the health centre.

1345: Dr Lucas spends a few minutes relaxing and meeting people at Thorpe River Green.

1415: Meeting at the junction of Aylsham Road and Patteson Road, Dr Lucas joins canvassers in Mile Cross ward, a traditionally Labour area seized by the Green Party in the June 4th county council elections, to the surprise of other parties. The Greens moved from fourth to first place in Mile Cross in the space of a year. This sets an encouraging precedent, as the Green Party came fourth in Norwich North at the last general election.

Notes

1. Norwich Green Party has 13 of Norwich's city councillors. This is more than the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats combined. (Labour has 15 seats, the LibDems 6 and the Conservatives 5). Norwich Green Party also holds 7 seats on Norfolk County Council, which increased by 5 seats in this year's county elections.

2. In the 2009 European election, the Green Party secured more votes than any other party in the Norwich City Council area, gaining 25%.

3. Norwich City Council Green Party group leader, Councillor Adrian Ramsay, is the deputy leader of the Green Party of England & Wales. He hopes to win Norwich South in the coming general election, a constituency where the Greens already hold a majority of the council seats and outpolled all comers in the last city council elections.






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