Tatchell bid to become Britain's first Green MP
Selected as Green Party candidate for Oxford East.
Oxford , UK - 25 April 2007
"The people of Oxford have an opportunity to make history - by electing Britain 's first Green MP," said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell today.
He was commenting on his selection as the Green Party's parliamentary candidate for Oxford East. The seat is currently held by the Labour MP Andrew Smith.
"Support for Labour is falling. The Lib Dems are losing votes to the revived Conservatives. This means a Green challenger could come though the middle and take the seat.
"The Green Party already wins 20% of the vote in Oxford local elections. All we have to do is persuade these voters, and a few more, to vote Green at the next general election. In a four-way contest, the Greens can win Oxford East.
"I am offering the voters a real choice: do you want a passionate, independent-minded Green MP, or another grey clone from the Lib Dems, Tories and Labour?
"Having taken on President Robert Mugabe, I've no hesitation in taking on Andrew Smith and campaigning hard for Oxford East.
"Andrew Smith has supported nearly every negative, damaging Labour policy, including the Iraq war, ID cards, foundation hospitals, student top-up fees and attacks on civil liberties.
"It is time for change. The Greens offer a positive, progressive alternative. We are the anti-war party that champions human rights and social justice, as well as environmental protection.
"The Green Party opposes Labour's creeping privatisation of health and education. We believe public services should serve the public, not enrich private corporations. Our priority is more doctors, nurses and teachers, and fewer management consultants.
"Climate chaos is the single biggest threat to Britain 's prosperity and security. The Greens are the only party with serious, credible policies to halt global warming.
"Labour plans to waste billions on Trident nuclear missiles, ID cards, new road building and more nuclear power stations. In contrast, the Greens would invest this money in energy conservation, renewable power generation, affordable green housing and cheaper, safer and cleaner public transport.
"I will soon start living in the constituency and getting involved in local community campaigns, including the campaigns to stop the privatisation of Peers school and other public services, the shortage of affordable housing, job cuts in the Oxfordshire NHS and the destruction of Warneford Meadow and nearby Radley Lakes," said Mr Tatchell.
"Instead of expanding the Westgate shopping centre, we should use the land to build 500 new eco-friendly, low-cost homes. The Worcester Street car park is a hideous eye-sore. I am backing moves to restore the beautiful Oxford Canal Basin as a first-class leisure amenity.
"The Park n Ride workers have my full backing. Lone working is unsafe for the employees and for the people who park their cars there - especially at night. Having two security guards on duty will enhance security for everyone," he said.
Welcoming Peter Tatchell 's selection, Green Party Principal Speaker Dr. Derek Wall said:
"Peter has been a friend since 1988. From his citizen's arrest of Robert Mugabe to his work in OutRage! using direct action to promote gay liberation, his record on human rights and social justice campaigning is one of the most impressive in Britain . We are lucky to have him as a candidate. I think he can win in Oxford East, a constituency which includes wards like St Mary's where we already receive 66 per cent of the vote.
"He is going to raise the game for the whole party. I think his selection will be seen as a real turning point, making the party more serious, more professional and more focussed on issues of justice. I will be out knocking on doors for him and I know I won't be alone."
Cllr Matt Sellwood , who is Deputy Leader of the City Council Green Group, added:
"Oxford Green Party is delighted to have Peter represent us at the next General Election. He has a proven history of principled politics and campaigning success. When combined with the local party's electoral expertise, we expect an excellent result."
Green Party Press Office 020 7561 0282
Oxford is one of the Green Party's homelands, with 11 local green Councillors, and more than 20 per cent of the vote at last year's local elections.
Oxford East ranks in the top 20 per cent of constituencies nationwide in terms of the Green Party's vote share, and is in the top 5 for the South East region.
At the last general election, the Oxford East constituency received a higher percentage of Green votes than any other constituency in the Oxford region.
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