PoliticsRichmond Council

Green party offered large sum of money not to sit in local by-election

The Green party allegedly sat out of the Richmond by-election last week after being offered £250,000 not to contest the election won by Liberal Democrat Sarah Olney. 

A leaked report  from the Kingston Green Party, which can be found here, suggests that an anonymous donor offered cash on the condition that the party enter a ‘progressive alliance’ with the Liberal Democrats.

The by-election was triggered by Zac Goldsmith’s resignation over the Heathrow expansion, Goldsmith then ran as an independent but was beaten by over 2,000 votes by Olney, who used Brexit to target a constituency heavily in the remain camp.

According to the report, Richmond and Twickenham Greens were encouraged by senior officials, including Jonathan Bartley, not to contest the seat, the decision was then taken not to field a candidate.

The Kingston party was reportedly told about the offer of a donation on November 2nd before making the decision not to put someone forward, a report following the announcement said: ‘Party staff present at the meeting on 2nd November informed a group of activists, in confidence, that the party staff were keen for us to agree to stand down.

‘This was because there would be serious, but confidential, implications for the national party — so serious that they could even affect the jobs of party staff — in the event that we did not do so.’

‘We believe that the decision of party staff to divulge details of the conditional offer of a donation was wholly wrong. Not only should party staff have been impartial in the decision, but knowledge of a large conditional donation should not have been allowed to affect the decision of party members.’

The Times reported that the donation was discussed among senior Green offficials before they later admitted it was an ‘error’ raising it. It is believed that the party did reject the donation after it failed to meet ethical standards in the party.


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