22nd Nov, 2019

Green Party unveils Coventry candidates - vowing to clean up city air and protect green belt

John Carlon 31st Oct, 2019 Updated: 31st Oct, 2019

COVENTRY’S Green Party has announced candidates to contest the city’s three seats at the general election on December 12.

Becky Finlayson, a history teacher, will stand in Coventry South, where Labour MP Jim Cunningham is stepping down.

Matthew Handley will fight to be the Green MP for Coventry North-East, currently held by Colleen Fletcher (Labour). Handley, who lives in Wood End, stood in the previous two elections for the constituency.

Stephen Gray, who also stood in 2017, is nominated for Coventry North-West, where Geoffrey Robinson (Labour) is retiring.

Mrs Finlayson said: “Politics has become an increasingly important area of passion and interest for me over the last few years, particularly since the 2015 General Election and the 2016 EU referendum. I want to be involved in politics more than just via online activism.

“The reality of the brutal policies of this Conservative government have become clear, particularly in already-deprived areas of Coventry.

“I want to advocate on behalf of others, and be involved in a different kind of politics – one that can use the wealth of this nation to support the poorest and most marginalised. The austerity mind-set of the Conservative government has led to unnecessary cuts which have affected most of all those who already lived in poverty and destitution.

“Cuts to public services have led to increasing despair – most particularly, in education and the NHS. I have seen first-hand the effects cuts have had to schools. I believe Coventry needs a Green politician to work across the House of Commons and promote a bold and radical vision for the UK which promises hope and prosperity for all.

“If elected to be your Green Party MP, I will stand up for funding for education, particularly for special needs education, as Coventry schools have been hit particularly hard by the so-called ‘Fairer Funding Formula’.

“I will also work to make Coventry South the greenest constituency in the country, through measures such as a tree-planting programme, encouraging and investing in renewable energy sources for the city, and preventing building on Green Belt land.”

The Green Party have stood candidates in Coventry since 2010. At the 2015 general election the party’s national votes topped one million for the first time, but its vote share in Coventry fell again at the 2017 general election.

Mr Handley, a construction buyer, said: “As an experienced candidate of the last five years and a resident of the Coventry North East constituency, I bring a positive green vision to the forefront of a general election campaign.

“My personal links in the area give me a direct connection to the constituency, making my determination even stronger to improve things for the people of Coventry.

“My greatest concern is the increasingly poor air quality in the Coventry North East constituency. There is a dire need for better and cleaner public transport in the area alongside a vastly improved cycle network.

“If elected to be your Green Party MP, I will campaign tirelessly to improve green public transport networks, such as electrified local rail services and greener bus networks which are vital for all the people of Coventry. I will also work with local government to ensure the redevelopment of the Riley Square area in Bell Green is at the cutting edge of environmental standards.

“I will work to make Coventry North East the greenest constituency in the country, through measures such as creation of a distinct cycle network across the constituency.”

Mr Gray, a mathematics graduate, said: “As a local candidate who knows this constituency I can be an effective voice for Coventry North West in Parliament, and will stand up to ensure we are not ignored nationally.

“My most immediate concern in the Coventry North West constituency are the problems on our roads. We have a serious problem with air pollution and congestion on major roads, and dangerous speeding in many residential areas.

“I want to work with both the council and national government to solve this effectively, particularly by improving public transport and the city’s cycle path network, so that it is easier for people to leave their cars at home.”

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