The Green Party has announced that Peter Underwood will be its General Election candidate in Croydon East, one of the new parliamentary constituencies for the borough.
Underwood is a serial election candidate, having previously stood in parliamentary elections in Croydon South in 2015 (when he was fifth) and 2019 (fourth) and Croydon North in 2017 (fourth with fewer the 1,000 votes), losing his deposit on each occasion.
But it is unlikely to be “fourth time lucky” for Underwood in the reconfigured Croydon East seat.
When his own party launched its national campaign recently, they set themselves the modest target of having four MPs in the next Parliament and identified who they thought they might be. Croydon East was not among them.
Pollsters Electoral Calculus have the seat as a 98% likely Labour win. They give the Greens a zero chance of winning, though at least they reckon they might finish third…
When Underwood was the Green Croydon Mayoral candidate in May 2022, he finished fifth with 6.5% of the borough-wide first preference votes. Because Katherine Kerswell, as the returning officer, made such a pig’s ear of the count, we never did get to discover how many second preference votes those candidates outside the top two received, though Green sources suggest that they believe Underwood may have been the most-liked second-best choice. As if that’s any kind of consolation. Now, we will never know.
Underwood running in Croydon East is doubtless a tactical choice by the Greens, who despite having a much smaller campaign fund than the Croydon political duopoly, did get two councillors elected in Fairfield ward 18 months ago.
The Greens, as is their practice, did not give any details of the selection process, or even if there were any other possible candidates other than Underwood.
“I am so pleased to be selected as the candidate for the area where I live,” said Selsdon resident Underwood.
“I’m proud to be standing for the Green Party to bring some honesty, decency, and humanity back into politics.
“We are facing a cost of living crisis, a climate crisis, and a crisis of politics that has become swamped in lies and corruption. The Green Party is the only party with solutions to all of those – caring about people, caring about our environment, and caring about trust.
“We have suffered for too long under the current Government and the polling shows that the Conservatives are certainly not going to win this time.
“In Croydon we have also suffered under Labour. They’ve become a party that cares more about success for itself than improving the lives of people they are supposed to serve. If you keep voting for those same old parties, you’ll just get the same old politics.
“We deserve better and if you want better you have to vote for it. That’s why I’m telling everyone that this time you need to vote Green.”
Oxford-educated Underwood is a former senior Civil Servant who has worked in the Westminster Parliament and the European Parliament. He now works for a conservation charity, and sits on the committee of his residents’ association and his local woodland friends’ group. He is a former chair of Croydon Friends of the Earth and was also a member of the Croydon Climate Crisis Commission.
Last week, the Conservatives announced that Jason Cummings, the council cabinet member who inflicted a 15% Council Tax hike on the borough, is to be their candidate in Croydon East.
Labour has only just started to get round to its candidate selection process. The entire Croydon LibDem membership is expected to meet in a town centre phone box sometime before December 2024 to choose their candidate.
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