Peter Underwood, a regular on the ballot paper at local and parliamentary elections in Croydon, has made it on to the Green Party’s shortlist of candidates for selection to stand for Mayor of London in 2020.
The Greens pride themselves on being “London’s third party”, and though at this point in the process it would seem unlikely that their candidate for Mayor might somehow oust Labour’s Sadiq Khan from City Hall in May 2020, Underwood’s inclusion on the four-strong shortlist is some indication of how the former chair of Croydon Greens has risen in his party’s ranks.
Underwood has also been included among the 22 candidates all seeking to be included as nominees to go forward on the London list for the Greens under the Assembly’s convoluted proportional representation system, which has seen the Greens with at least two members elected to the London Assembly since the first City Hall vote in 2000.
If he can get high enough on the Greens’ list, Underwood might even find himself having to spend more time at City Hall, and less time on the downs at Coulsdon and Riddlesdown with Croydon’s Conservation Volunteers.
Voting among London’s Green Party members to choose the Mayoral challenger and their list candidates began yesterday.
The candidates for selection to run for London Mayor for the Greens are Underwood, Shahrar Ali, Sian Berry – the party’s national co-leader – and Zack Polanski.
In 2016, when Berry was the Greens’ candidate for Mayor, she polled more than 150,000 votes to push the LibDems into third place.
In those London elections three years ago, Berry and Caroline Russell were both elected as Assembly Members through the list system.
Russell is again seeking selection for the Greens list, as are, among many others, Scott Ainslie, a Lambeth councillor for St Leonard’s ward, and Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, the south London teacher who was recently successful in campaigning to get the Attorney General to agree to a new inquiry into the fate of her nine-year-old daughter, Ella, who collapsed and died after repeated asthma attacks widely attributed to the chronically bad air quality near their home off the South Circular.
Peter Underwood has lived in Selsdon since 2002. A former senior civil servant, he worked in the policy unit of the Department for Work and Pensions and helped to produce the UK renewable energy strategy at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
Underwood left the civil service eight years ago, since when he has volunteered with a wide range of ecology-related groups and charities, including the Friends of Littleheath Woods and National Trust, Croydon Friends of the Earth and Amnesty International. As well as chairing Croydon and Sutton Green Party, he sits on the advisory board for Green Party members of the European Parliament.
On making it on to the parallel shortlists yesterday, Underwood said, “I am really pleased to have received nominations from across London to stand for selection as our Green Party Mayoral candidate and one of our London Assembly candidates.
“After spending years developing and delivering Government policies and helping ministers present those policies, I decided I had to quit the civil service and use my talents to promote the ideas that I agree with. I joined the Green Party and have stood as a candidate in virtually every election ever since, including being a London list candidate four years ago.
“I promised before this election that I wouldn’t spend any money on internal campaigning, as I believe that our resources should be used to win public elections. I am sticking to that promise, but I trust that you don’t need fancy videos and leaflets to be able to make up your minds about who you would like to represent us in the London elections and working in City Hall.
“We have a wonderfully diverse and vibrant group of people standing to be our candidates this time, including Sian and Caroline who have done so much good work in the London Assembly. I appreciate that this makes choosing your candidates a difficult decision. The nature of our voting system means that first choices have a big impact on the final result and so I hope you will put me at the top of your list of candidates.
“But winning in 2020 will not be about individuals, it will be about the great team of candidates we put forward. I hope you select me to be part of that group – as your Mayoral candidate and as part the Green Party team working in the London Assembly.”
The others seeking to be included on the Green’s Assembly list are:
Andrea Carey Fuller
Kirsten De Keyser
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