LOUIS Stephen argued the Green Party "must stand to be heard" on climate change after confirming his candidacy for next month's general election

The city councillor, chair of the local authority’s policy and resources committee, pitched to be “another Green voice at the heart of Westminster” in a statement released on the Worcester Green Party website.

Nationally, talk has turned to tactical voting and parties that are likeminded on Brexit standing aside in marginal seats such as Worcester.

But Cllr Stephen, who declined to field questions on the matter when contacted by Worcester News, defended the decision not to get behind Labour candidate and fellow city councillor Lynn Denham via a statement. 

It read: "We believe that the electoral system is broken. Everyone should be given a chance to vote Green if they want to. 

"After the school strikes and Extinction Rebellion protests this is the climate change election. There has never been so much public concern, so every Green vote will count to send a powerful message to whomever will be forming a government.

"If there are no Green Party candidates on the ballot paper this message cannot be sent. We must stand to be heard!

"The climate emergency is the most important issue we have, even more important than Brexit."

Mike Foster, a former Labour MP for Worcester, accused Cllr Stephen of standing as a "spoiler" in a social media post.

"We'll take no lectures from the the Labour Party as they do not yet support fair proportional voting systems for parliament," Cllr Stephen's statement continued.

"They had a chance to campaign for the Alternative Vote in the 2012 referendum but instead they chose to sit on the fence.

"The Alternative Vote system would have allowed people to rank their preferences instead of a simple cross in the current first past the post system."

An initial statement via the Green Party's website read: “Westminster MPs are in chaos – hopelessly divided and putting the interests of their own parties ahead of the national interest.

“If elected I would be another Green voice at the heart of Westminster to back up the fantastic work already being done by Caroline Lucas.

“The Green Party is firmly established as Worcester’s third party and the only party to be able to challenge both Labour and the Conservatives on the city council.

“We now have three Green city councillors and one county councillor. We hold the balance of power on Worcester City Council and work cooperatively and responsibly with all the political groups to help run the council in the best interests of local city residents.”