12 May 2017
Led by COMPASS, there have been numerous discussions relating to a Progressive Alliance in South West Surrey with the intention of putting forward a single progressive candidate to stand against Jeremy Hunt. An Alliance in South West Surrey was seen as particularly important given the lack of confidence in Jeremy Hunt as Health Secretary with the crisis currently facing the NHS.
At the last public meeting organised by COMPASS, held in Farncombe on 6th May, the National Health Action candidate, Louise Irvine, had overwhelming support from local members of all three progressive Parties and attending members of the general public. Susan Ryland, The Green Party candidate for South West Surrey, made the bold decision not stand in the face of a clear alliance of members of Labour, Liberal Democrats, and the Green Party. It is therefore unfortunate that the power structure of the Liberal Democrats and Labour is not devolved to the local members. We noted, with great sympathy, the sad news that Labour has expelled three long-serving members who, following the wishes of the Local Party members, agreed to the alliance only to have a candidate imposed on them. However the Liberal Democrat involvement remained unclear until after the deadline for nominations, in spite of numerous attempts to contact them. Faced with this uncertainty, Susan stood by her original commitment to stand down.
Mark Bray-Parry, Green Party candidate for Guildford commented:
We must use Britain’s wealth to invest in health. We must reverse the decline in funding for the NHS, plug the deficit hole that's been created, and plant the seeds for a new and flourishing public health service. We will lock-in a government commitment to ensure that the NHS is only funded by public money, rather than expecting people to reach into their pockets to pay for health treatments, and all services are delivered by public services, not private companies. We must also rectify the Conservatives’ failed commitment to give mental health parity with physical health by ensuring that the two are giving equal funding and investment.
The Green Party looks forward to discussing with National Health Action how these goals can be achieved and how we can support Louise's campaign.
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