In a bid to take a second seat in the House of Commons at next year’s general election, the Green Party have announced that part-time district nurse, Lesley Grahame, will be their candidate for Norwich South.
Revealed to Green Party supporters and the media on Tuesday 12th August, Grahame will have to fight off Norwich South’s current MP, Simon Wright, a Liberal Democrat, as well Labour’s Clive Lewis in order to win next May.
Simon Wright’s parliamentary term has been surrounded by controversy as he voted against lowering the tuition fee cap to £6,000 and actively campaigned against a rise in VAT before voting in favour of the motion. Even his 2010 election win was controversial after many questioned the legitimacy of the Liberal Democrat’s mandate: with a turnout of less than 65% and a 29.4% share of the vote, less than one fifth of Norwich South’s population actually voted for him.
However, Grahame’s political career has similarly been clouded by drama. In 2008, she was found guilty of trespassing and criminal damages after she broke in to a protected site and chained herself to a munitions compound at RAF Lakenheath in protest against the use of cluster bombs.
In spite of this, the councillor for the Thorpe Hamlet ward said at the party’s Norwich election campaign launch that she stood by her actions: “I think most people have really admired us and wished they had the guts to do it… The crime wasn’t cutting a piece of fence to stop them using cluster bombs, the crime was having the cluster bombs”.
A recent poll put the Greens on 20% of the Norwich vote and speaking at the event, the Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett explained that the Norwich South constituency is a key target for the party: “Norwich has a very long history of being very strong in the Green Party. Norwich South in particular is very important for us. The fact is we have enormous possibilities in the coming elections.
“One of the key things is that this general election will be unlike any other for the Green Party because this is the first general election in which we have been a parliamentary party. The Green Party has had Caroline Lucas as a brilliant MP for four and a bit years. Brighton Pavilion has demonstrated that if you choose, you can elect a Green MP.”
With the candidates for the three political parties most likely to win the Norwich South constituency now known, the race to for people’s vote can now begin; 266 days till the election and counting!