TODAY we begin our series of profiles of the city's election candidates, and up first is Louis Stephen:

WORCESTER’S Green Party candidate has said they are the "only party" to be able to challenge Labour and the Conservatives in the city.

Louis Stephen, who represents Battenhall on Worcester City Council, was chosen by the city’s Green Party members earlier this year in anticipation of an election being called.

Cllr Stephen originally moved to Worcester with wife Katey, and children Alaric and Bryony, more than 20 years ago and previously worked at Worcester Bosch.

On Brexit Cllr Stephen said the party was a remain party supporting a second referendum, but he said this election was the “climate emergency election”, with that issue even more important than Brexit.

“David Attenborough’s Blue Planet, school strikes inspired by Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion protests have all raised awareness – but now, at this election, is the chance to vote for the party that is committed to take the action necessary," he said.

“We have a credible plan to be carbon neutral by 2030 – other parties want a delay to 2045 or even 2050.

"There is only one political party that has the environment built into its DNA – that’s the Green Party.”

On local issues Cllr Stephen said he will continue to fight for Worcester residents’ interests in blocking inappropriate new development on green fields surrounding Worcester.

“More houses at the edge of the city mean more car journeys, congestion and even worse air quality," the councillor said.

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“We do need more homes to be built, but instead of urban sprawl I favour higher density housing in the city centre.”

On the challenge for the party, Cllr Stephen said: “The Green Party is ‘on the up’ and firmly established as Worcester’s third party.

"We hold the balance of power on Worcester City Council and see a virtue in working cooperatively and responsibly with all political groups to help run the council in the best interests of residents.

"If you would like to see less tribalism and greater cooperation, grown up politics and independent thinking at Westminster, please consider voting for the Green Party.

“There are so many pressing issues facing residents from lack of funding for our hospital and schools to the rising problems we see with rough sleeping and the fact that even people in jobs sometimes have to use the foodbank.”