Earlier today Green Assembly Members Darren Johnson and Jenny Jones delivered an open letter to LibDem leader Nick Clegg inviting him and his party to back Green candidate Siân Berry.
The Greens claim recent policy announcements by Paddick, including a promise to scrap the Low Emissions Zone and cancel the £25 congestion charge for vehicles with the highest Co2 emissions, mean he is not a ‘genuine’ LibDem candidate.
The full text of the Green’s letter reads:
We are writing this open letter because we are concerned that your voters are about to go into a London election with no Liberal Democrat candidate.
Although we do not always agree with the Liberal Democrats, we believe that very many people vote Lib Dem because they are concerned about the environment, and Lib Dems have clearly applied greater effort than the two larger parties to this issue in recent years. That is absolutely to your credit.
But in an entirely understandable effort to break into the top two in London, your party has chosen to nominate a celebrity candidate from outside the party, Brian Paddick. It is becoming increasingly apparent that Mr Paddick does not share the environmental concerns of your voters, and the party appears powerless to stop him tearing up years of Lib Dem policy in London in pursuit of Conservative votes.
Mr Paddick has pledged to scrap the Low Emissions Zone, a policy that was supported by Lib Dem AMs and is vital to cut the 1,000 premature deaths caused annually in Londn by air pollution.
He would cancel the higher-rate Congestion Charge for gas-guzzling Band G vehicles, a policy championed both by our Mayoral candidate Siân Berry and your MP Lynne Featherstone, then a London Assembly Member.
And he plans to privatise the Tube network to place management entirely in the hands of a single firm. You will remember that Lib Dem candidates appeared on the 2000 ballot paper as “Liberal Democrats: Against Tube Sell-off.”
While Siân Berry is by no means a Liberal Democrat, it is clear that she represents the concerns and aspirations of Liberal Democrats far better than your increasingly estranged official candidate.
The Liberal Democrats’ hard-won reputation as a party with concern for London’s environment is at grave risk though the promotion of this high-profile and clearly anti-environment Mayoral candidate.
Liberal Democrat voters are practical, not tribal. In our view, the Lib Dem thing to do in this situation is to ignore the colur of the rosette, and vote for the progressive polices for London transport and the environment that you have fought for over the last eight years. We therefore urge you, you party and your supporters to back instead the only candidate that now represents your hopes for our capital: Siân Berry.
Jenny Jones AM
Darren Johnson AM“