London’s Greens have voted not to recommend that members and supporters give their second preference vote to either Zac Goldsmith or Sadiq Khan.
When voting for Mayor, Londoners are able to cast one vote for their preferred candidate and one vote for their second preference.
If no candidate secures more than 50% of the first preference votes, the two highest scoring candidates go through to a second round and all second preference votes are allocated to the candidate they were cast for.
The candidate with the highest number of first and second preference votes is then elected Mayor.
No candidate has ever won the mayoralty on first preferences alone and in three of the four previous elections the Green Party recommended that supporters give their second preferences to Ken Livingstone.
However senior figures in the party had expressed reservations about Goldsmith and Khan’s policy platforms and last month set out four “red lines” for both to sign up to before deciding which, if either, to endorse.
Today the party’s London Federation said neither candidate had sufficiently addressed their concerns and that it had “great reservations about the policy positions on inequality, road building, airport expansion, and estate demolition of both so-called frontrunners”.
As a result the Federation said it “does not feel able to make a positive recommendation to Green voters in this election for a candidate who should receive their second preference vote for Mayor.”
In addition to policy doubts it’s understood that some senior members of the party believed it was time for the Greens to stand as a distinct alternative to both of the larger parties and for any Assembly Members to be able to work with whoever is elected mayor without the baggage of the party having potentially endorsed their defeated rival.
Speaking after the Federation’s vote, Green mayoral candidate Sian Berry said: “The Greens have grown in strength and experience over 16 years and our policies stand alone as the best ideas for London in this election. We are the only party that will say no to big road building, airport expansion and forced estate demolition.
“I know my supporters will have their own thoughts about who will get their second preference vote.
“But Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan have both failed to provide the guarantees that they will not make a bad situation worse in London either by increasing pollution with new roads and expanded airports or making the housing crisis even worse with the loss of thousands of council homes in estate demolitions.
“I want Londoners to have clean air and a decent, affordable home. The only guarantee of that is a Green Mayor and a strong group of Green representatives on the London Assembly.”
Londoners will elect a new Mayor and the 25 members of the London Assembly on May 5th. Candidates for Mayor include Conservative Zac Goldsmith, Labour’s Sadiq Khan, Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon, the Green party’s Sian Berry and UKIP’s Peter Whittle.