Greens hope to make gains amid development fallout

Will Patterson is the Green Party candidate in Wigan
Will Patterson is the Green Party candidate in Wigan

Wigan’s electorate may be more open to the Green Party’s policies in the wake of controversial GM spatial framework plans, a candidate has claimed.

Will Patterson has launched his bid to become Wigan’s MP having last week finished fourth in the Greater Manchester mayoral elections.

The chair of the borough’s branch of the party, told the Wigan Post residents have been “galvanised” by the threat to green belt posed by the over-arching GMSF development plan.

He said: “I think our policies regarding social justice; jobs and housing will appeal to a lot of voters and I’m hoping to make progress from when I stood in 2015.

“And a lot of of the messages I have been communicating during the mayoral campaign will crossover to Wigan, especially regarding the spatial framework, people have been galvanised by the threat to our green belt.”

Mr Patterson, who lives in Wigan, has now stood for office in local, general and metro-mayoral elections in recent years and says the experience will help his campaign this time round.

He said: “The mayoral election result last week was a bit mixed for me in the sense I would have liked more votes but I was pleased to finish fourth, that was a real achievement.

“I want to highlight that the Greens will protect Wigan’s over-stretched health and social care services and give them proper funding. We will ensure all workers receive the living wage and put emphasis on safer communities by tackling cuts to fire and police budgets.

“We will be able to do this by not turning a blind eye to tax evasion and we do expect those who earn more to pay a little more.

“I am offering a clear, principled, progressive voice.”

In 2015, Mr Patterson finished fourth behind Labour, Conservative and Ukip candidates but is hoping for a better showing this year.

On a national level, the Greens have ruled out considering “progressive alliances” after Labour expelled party members for backing a progressive candidate.

Co-leader Caroline Lucas said the Labour and Liberal Democrat stance has “betrayed the people they represent” by failing to properly consider electoral pacts between broadly left-wing parties.

Her comments came after Labour members in South West Surrey were expelled for backing Louise Irvine, a GP who is standing for the National Health Action (NHA) party against Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.