Hackney Green Party confirms its candidates hoping to oust Labour in General Election
PUBLISHED: 11:31 05 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:30 05 September 2019
The Hackney Green Party has announced its candidates to challenge Labour in two of its safest parliamentary seats in England.
In hustings last month, Alex Armitage was nominated the Potential Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, taking on the shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, while Tyrone Scott will face Labour MP Meg Hillier in Hackney South and Shoreditch.
The Greens have never won a parliamentary seat in Hackney and fell short of a spot in local elections last year when Dalston Labour Cllr Peter Snell defeated Alex Armitage by 21 votes following a recount.
But the pair are not phased and are banking on Labour's poor opinion polling and momentum from the party's strong performance in local and European elections earlier this year where the number of Greens councillors across the country doubled and four new MEP entered the EU parliament, taking the total number to seven, to carry them over the line.
"I'm not standing to come second, I'm going to go for this election with the objective of winning it," Alex told the Gazette.
"If you look at the European election, and our internal statistics, we reckon we came pretty strong in Hackney, at least within 10 per cent of the Labour vote, and so, with a bit of luck, and a really strong campaign, we could challenge Diana Abbott and the Labour party.
For the pair, the election is a chance to bring pressing local issues, like the housing crisis, to the forefront of people's minds.
Tyrone, 28, who has been a Green member for five years and faces his first election, said: "What's important is that we don't let any MP across the country have an easy ride. At the least, I want to put things up to the forefront.
"If I can bring the environment to the forefront of discussion and the housing crisis and make Meg Hillier realise that's what people in the constituency want to concentrate on, then, that's great."
Tyrone, a housing and communities advisor with the national housing charity Shelter, hopes to highlight Hackney council's questionable handling of housing applications by those most in need.
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He said: "I've worked in housing for five-and-a-half years providing frontline housing advice and I have seen the increase of homelessness.
"I've seen families put into temporary accommodation, moved hundreds of miles away from their community…. The actions by Hackney council need highlighting."
For paediatrician Alex, 37, his foray into politics was spurred on by what he saw as the wanton destruction of the environment.
He originally joined Labour but switched to the Greens in his mid-twenties after being disgruntled by Tony Blair's decision to invade Iraq:
"One of the main issues we're facing at the moment is the climate and ecological catastrophe.
"We've also got issues related to inequality in Britain, particularly in Hackney where we have a housing crisis which is the number one social justice issue that we're facing. I think housing is a human right."
Tyrone, who lives in Hackney Central, said he has always been involved in politics, often participating in student councils.
He was forced to drop out of university after a family emergency meant he had to take up full-time work in order to support himself.
He said: "I want to show that things can happen when you're in your early twenties that are beyond your control but that's not the end of your life.
"You can pick yourself up and crack on again and still follow your dreams."
The pair have began working on a party manifesto and hope to unveil a new drugs policy in the weeks ahead.
In a hint of what that might look like, Alex told the Gazette the Hackney Greens will push for a policy to regulate drugs by legalising them and selling them in "specialist pharmacies" where people will have to get a pharmacist's approval before purchasing a drug.
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