London’s Greens are to demand that Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan sign-up to four “red lines” ahead of a decision on whether to endorse either’s mayoral bid.
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 its members give their second preferences to Ken Livingstone.
In recent weeks some Green Party figures have privately expressed reservations about endorsing either Labour’s Sadiq Khan or Tory runner Zac Goldsmith.
A number have expressed disappointment that Goldsmith appears to have muted his previously outspoken environmentalist credentials in order to curry favour with Tory voters in outer London boroughs. Goldsmith’s failure to rule out building new roads in South East London has been a particular cause for concern.
Meanwhile senior Greens have voiced concern that Khan’s recent conversion from advocate and supporter of Heathrow expansion to opponent may not be as genuine as he proclaims. And while the Tooting MP says a third runway at Heathrow should be ruled out, he backs expanding Gatwick Airport which is opposed by the Greens.
Some have even suggested it would be best if the party did not endorse either man, arguing that as a growing political force it should be hesitant about being seen as an adjunct of the larger parties.
However as a compromise the London Federation of Green Parties has now agreed to issue four “red lines” which Goldsmith and Khan will need agree to before the party will consider recommending members vote for them.
As a result they will be invited to meet with Green mayoral runner Sian Berry and asked to agree to halt road building, airport expansion and enforced council estate demolitions, and to reduce London’s inequality, if elected mayor.
Depending on the progress of these discussions the Federation will take a further vote in April and decide which, if any, candidate, to endorse as second choice.
In a statement following its meeting tonight, the Federation said: “Greens in London want positive change and a Green Mayor is the best way to deliver that.
“But Londoners will be able to give two Mayoral candidates their support, and to elect more Greens to the London Assembly.
“The next Mayor could do a lot to tackle air pollution, climate change and housing, but he or she could also make the situation far worse.
“We are putting down four red lines, requiring Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan to rule out any major road building, airport expansion or enforced council estate demolitions, as well as to make a clear commitment to reducing inequality.
“That could clear the way for the party to make a strong recommendation of support next month.”
Sian Berry said: “The Greens have grown in strength and experience over 16 years and I think our policies stand alone. We’re the only party that will say no to big road building, airport expansion and forced estate demolition.
“I’m sure my supporters will have their own thoughts about who, if anyone, will get their second preference. But I will now be seeking answers from Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith on theses questions to see if either of them merit the party’s formal endorsement.”
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.