A STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GREEN PARTY IN SOMERTON AND FROME
The Somerton and Frome Green Party would like to clarify the following points in relation to a recent letter published in the local press by Councillor Adam Boyden, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Somerton and Frome.
Councillor Adam Boyden is perfectly entitled to speculate on why he thinks he should have been nominated as Somerton and Frome’s Unite to Remain candidate in the electoral pact struck by the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party. He is not, however, entitled to distort the truth. The Green Party has made it clear that Councillor Boyden was asked to stand down in favour of Dr. Andrea Dexter, the Green Party candidate, in national negotiations between leading members of both parties.
Councillor Boyden states: “there was no agreement between the parties.”
His communications with us directly contradict this.
On the evening of Sunday 3 November, the Regional Council of the Green Party of England & Wales (our ‘Board’) ratified the “Unite to Remain” agreement between the Green Party, Lib Dems, and Plaid Cymru – which included the LibDems standing aside their Candidate for Somerton & Frome to increase the chances of the strongest Remain Candidate defeating David Warburton. Our national party had received assurances from the national LibDems, ahead of this vote, that all was “fine” in Somerton & Frome Somerton & Frome Green Party did Councillor Boyden the decency of not publicising the decision before he had been informed.
At four minutes past midnight on Monday 4th November, an e-mail from Adam Boyden was received by the Green Party candidate Dr. Dexter, and Green Party Councillors, Shane Collins and Martin Dimery. The email heading was “Unite to remain”.(sic) In it Adam Boyden asked to discuss “something rather important and urgent….You’ll know what it’s about. I need to know your plans and whether you are serious.”
An exchange of emails followed in which Councillor Boyden appeared to be suggesting that he didn’t realise that the decision was to be made by our respective national parties, and that he had been instructed not to approach the Green Party at local level. Councillor Boyden requested a telephone conversation on Tuesday 5th of November with the Co-ordinator of South West Green Party, Ewan Jones. On this phone-call, Councillor Boyden suggested that he believed himself to be the more appropriate candidate and that Dr. Dexter should defy the instruction and withdraw in favour of himself. He was told verbally, and by e-mail, that we were not permitted to discuss the issue and attempt to make private arrangements.
On Wednesday 6th November, the national Green
Party broke the news to Somerton & Frome Greens that Adam Boyden had
refused to stand down, and had sought the support of his local
association. Fearing a breakdown of the whole national agreement, the
Green Party of England & Wales decided to remove Somerton &
Frome from the list of target seats and allowed the Liberal Democrat
candidate to run against the nominated Green. Somerton and Frome was
replaced in the “Unite to Remain” agreement by two other constituencies,
in list launched in London on Thursday 7th.
At various stages in the campaign, Councillor Boyden has declined to deny that he was only re-instated under duress, including when challenged publicly by the Labour candidate at the Frome hustings. Furthermore, Adam Boyden has identified himself disingenuously as the ‘Unity Candidate’ on literature throughout the campaign. To intimate he has the support of other parties in the General Election or that his candidature was not in question is mendacious.
The Somerton and Frome Green Party also take issue with Councillor Boyden’s misinformation regarding Dr Andrea Dexter’s statement about the closure of the Routes Centre in Frome. As can be heard in the Frome FM recording of the hustings at Frome Football Club on 24/11/2019, Dr Dexter merely recounted the situation as it had been stated at a Fair Housing for Frome meeting, that the service was little used, that the YMCA were known to be closing it in March 2020, that the two staff at Routes had found other posts and that the YMCA decided to close Routes but to provide the drop in service from The Foyer service that was unaffected. She neither expressed support nor opposition, and therefore Cllr Boyden’s statement is untrue, as was that of Cllr Gardner on Facebook (now removed). She was disappointed by this behaviour by Mendip District Councillors.
In recent elections there has been a public clamour for anti-Brexit inclined parties to unite around a single candidate. We, in the Green Party, have listened to these concerns and often stood candidates down elsewhere with little or no reciprocation from Lib Dems and Labour. To have been designated as the “Unite to Remain” representative, and have that withdrawn by the intransigence of the Lib Dem candidate was a bitter blow. To have the matter distorted in an attempt to smear the local Green Party is unacceptable. We welcome a public retraction and apology from Councillors Boyden and Gardner by 5pm Today 11th December, together with a donation to the YMCA. Only the Conservative candidate has benefitted from Councillor Boyden’s actions.