The Green Party is furious after its general election candidate, Rachael Roberts, was not invited by BBC Look North to take part in its TV debate on the streets of Berwick today.
Tim Roake, the Berwick Green Party’s press officer, described the explanation given to him by BBC Look North as “not good enough” after only four of the six candidates vying for the Berwick seat were invited to take part in the question-and-answer session on Marygate. The English Democrat candidate was also missing.
Mr Roake said:
“The Green Party is the third biggest in the Berwick constituency, if not the second biggest. When I asked why Rachael was not invited, I was told they had looked at the previous election results and the European elections. But we did not stand in those elections. They used old information and it is not good enough.”
> That sounds a bit bizarre, even for the media. The BBC must have noticed the surge in membership of the Greens locally.
A spokesperson for BBC North East and Cumbria said:
“Based on BBC guidelines, we only invited the four main candidates to our Look North hot seats in Berwick. We will be filming a separate hot seat with Green Party candidate Rachael Roberts.”
Source – Berwick Advertiser, 14 Apr 2015
Campaigners hoping to turn Northumberland in a Green Party powerbase defied dreary weather to officially launch their election battle.
Natalie Bennett’s party will fight all four Northumberland constituencies at the General Election next month, placing energy, anti-austerity, public services and transport at the heart of their strategy.
Taking shelter under bright green umbrellas, the candidates chose Druridge Bay Visitor Centre, near Amble, for the event, close to the site of a planned opencast mine, which the Greens are petitioning against amid fears it will damage the environment.
The party’s candidate for Hexham and chairman of the Northumberland Greens Lee Williscroft-Ferris, said:
“Today has been a huge success.
“Despite the poor weather, many Green Party members from across the four Northumberland constituencies have come to Druridge Bay to show their support as their candidates officially launch their general election campaigns.
“Although we are each fighting hard in our own areas, we share similar concerns. These include an urgent need to improve public transport and protect our public services, as well as a mutual objective of fighting against the unsafe exploitation of our natural resources through fracking, open cast mining and underground coal gasification.
“We offer a people and planet-focussed alternative to ‘business as usual’ politics and to the narrative of austerity – the number of people here today proves that there is a genuine appetite for a positive, Green vision of hope here in Northumberland.”
It comes as the Greens celebrate being the third-largest party, in terms of membership, in England as the party enjoys unprecedented exposure in the TV leaders’ debates.
While the Greens are not anticipating victory in Northumberland a surge of support for them could make a decisive difference in the key marginal of Berwick-upon-Tweed.
Following the retirement of long-serving Lib Dem MP Sir Alan Beith, Conservative Anne-Marie Trevelyan is neck-and-neck with Lib Dem Julie Porksen, but the Greens’ candidate Rachael Roberts is holding her own.
Dawn Furness is taking on Labour’s Ronnie Campbell – who polled a 6,668 majority in 2010 – in the Blyth Valley constituency while Chris Hedley also faces a tough opponent in Wansbeck where Ian Lavery will stand for Ed Miliband’s party.
The Save Druridge campaign has a petition, which can be found online: http://www.savedruridge.co.uk
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 13 Apr 2015
Berwick constituency, vacant following the retirement of Sir Alan Beith (Lib Dem).
►Nigel Revell Coghill-Marshall (Ukip)
►Scott Dickinson (Labour)
►Neil Humphrey (English Democrats)
►Julie Pörksen (Liberal Democrats)
►Rachael Roberts (Green Party)
►Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Conservative)
Fracking must be roundly rejected in any part of Northumberland, a Green Party politician vying to be an MP has said.
Rachael Roberts, who will contest the Berwick upon Tweed constituency, has launched a petition demanding that Northumberland County Council commits to refusing all applications for fracking.
“All proposals for fossil fuel extraction in Northumberland, whether by fracking for gas, drilling for oil, or open cast mining for coal, are fundamentally keeping us tied to 19th Century technology – the county council has already recognised that Northumberland has potential to become a world leader in renewable energy, and it is in this clean technology of the future that our investment must be made, not in the polluting technology of the past.”
In 2014, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) invited bids from companies wishing to explore for onshore oil and gas across much of Northumberland.
The areas permitting exploratory drilling under Amble and Rothbury, and between those two towns. The results have not been announced.
Ms Roberts is calling on the council to make a refusal of any fracking activity its policy.
“Fracking contaminates ground water supplies, where it risks introducing toxic chemicals, carcinogenic hydrocarbons and radioactive matter into the natural food chain.
“The biodiversity that is already stressed from pollution, pesticides and climate change will be under threat: this is a risk that no responsible council should ever consider taking.”
A Northumberland County Council spokesman said:
“The exploratory, appraisal or production phase of hydrocarbon extraction can only take place in areas where the Department of Energy and Climate Change have issued a license.
“The Government is considering a further round of these licences and parts of Northumberland do fall within the areas being considered.
“In addition, planning permission would also be required.
“The emerging Core Strategy includes a number of draft policies that any future planning applications for fracking would be considered against.
“The draft policies set out a range of environment criteria for assessing proposals, including a requirement to demonstrate that any benefits outweigh the adverse impacts on local communities and the environment.”
Ms Roberts’ petition can be found at:
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 02 Mar 2015
A town councillor from Alnwick has been selected as the Green Party candidate for the general election.
The decision to choose Rachael Roberts, 42, to stand for the Berwick constituency seat in May was unanimous.
Ms Roberts has lived in Alnwick for nine years and works as a guidance team manager and practitioner at Newcastle University’s careers service.
She has been a member of the Green Party for six years and was elected to Alnwick Town Council in 2011.
In line with Green Party philosophy, she says she is passionate about the need for change within national politics and wants to move away from the “negative campaigning seen at the moment.”
Having been active in her local community, Ms Roberts is also keen to bring decision making as close as possible to those it affects.
“I think we are seeing a Green surge because people are pleasantly surprised by Green Party policies, including scrapping tuition fees, bringing the railways back into public ownership, stopping the privatisation of the NHS, investing in decent jobs and building truly affordable housing.”
She is supporting Save Druridge, the campaign to protect the beautiful area of Druridge Bay against plans for an opencast coal mine.
The Berwick constituency Green Party said in a statement:
“In the run-up to the May election, voters in the Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency will see a new force in politics – a force that will be campaigning strongly for change and policies that work for the common good.
“This will be ably lead by Rachael who is already an experienced campaigner and a well-known local figure.
“Rachael and the local Green Party will be working hard to meet with constituents and hear their views.”
Source – Berwick Advertiser, 05 Feb 2015