September 18 2014 Latest news:
Annabelle Dickson, Political Editor
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Norwich South has “enormous possibilities” for the Green Party in the coming election, its leader said as she unveiled the city councillor who will fight for the Westminster seat.
Part-time district nurse Lesley Grahame, who was recently re-elected as a councillor for the Thorpe Hamlet ward, will take on incumbent Liberal Democrat Simon Wright and Labour candidate Clive Lewis in the general election next year.
Ms Grahame was found guilty of trespassing on a protected site and criminal damage in 2008 when she was one of seven protesters who cut through a fence and chained themselves to a munitions compound at RAF Lakenheath.
She said yesterday that she stood by what she had done. Adding: “I think most people have really admired us and wished they had the guts to do it....The crime wasn’t cutting a piece of fence to stop them using cluster bombs, the crime was having the cluster bombs.”
Ms Grahame, who is married with two grown up children, said the Green Party were “gentle, determined and passionate people - demanding the impossible and sometimes getting it”.
A recent poll has put the Greens on 20pc of the vote in Norwich and Ms Grahame said: “Who knows where we might get to now we have a candidate.”
“Anarchists I used to know used to say - ‘we don’t just want more crumbs from the table, we want the whole bloody bakery’. Yes we do, But now the task is even bigger because we have to stop the bakery from being burnt down in the process of trying to acquire a fair share of it,” she said.
Former city councillor Adrian Holmes, who is a software engineer and long standing member of the Green Party in Norwich, will stand for the Norwich North seat. He stood for the same seat in the 2005 general election.
Rupert Read, who unsuccessfully contested Norwich North at the last election and recently missed out on a seat for the East at the European elections, did not put his name forward to be a Westminster candidate, saying that he was still exhausted from the European campaign.
Green leader Natalie Bennett said: “Norwich has a very long history of being very strong in the Green Party. Norwich South in particular is very important for us. The fact is we have enormous possibilities in the coming elections.”
“One of the key things is that this general election will be unlike any other for the Green Party because this is the first general election in which we have been a parliamentary party. The Green Party has had Caroline Lucas as a brilliant MP for four and a bit year. Brighton Pavilion has demonstrated that if you choose, you can elect a Green MP.”
She said that nationally Green Party membership was up 28pc since the start of the year. At one point during the European elections it was putting on 1,000 members a week.
“We can see a snowball start to roll. It is partly a reflection of the fact that the Green Party has got much bigger. It is much more organised. We have taken some of the things being done in Norwich and spread them around the country. We are also is we are finding lots of people are finding us, even though we haven’t had a chance to go looking for them. We need a real change in the way we do politics.”