The Green Party’s Andree Frieze says she feels vindicated in her decision not to run in the Richmond Park by-election following the Liberal Democrat’s victory yesterday.
Frieze and the Green Party made the decision not to stand in the by-election and instead form a progressive alliance with the Liberal Democrats who saw Sarah Olney pip Zac Goldmsith with 20,510 votes to 18,638.
Frieze said: “We’re very pleased and delighted with the result. We feel vindicated by our decision to step down.
“I’d spoken to some Liberal Democrats who were quietly confident and talking to people on the streets and door knocking we felt things were going our way.
“The amount of signs for Liberal Democrats on doors and in windows was definitely an indicator of how things were going.
“We knew it was going to be close but I think the fact we didn’t stand really gave the Liberal Democrats a push and I think it gave the voters a chance to make a difference.”
Labour’s Christian Wolmar came a distant third losing his £500 deposit and Frieze said that talks would commence with the Liberal Democrats and Labour about future progressive alliances.
She said: “We took a very bold step and a risk. We certainly don’t intend to stand down in every election because this is not what this is about.
“Let’s look at 2020, let’s look at the constituencies that we can target so the conservatives do not win.
“For example, Brentford and Isleworth. Ruth Cadbury of Labour won by a very small majority last time.
“Now if the Liberal Democrats were to stand down there that would give her a clear run towards it, they would stop wasting their resources there and Labour should stand down somewhere else and give the Liberal Democrats that opportunity to win.”
Frieze believed that the shock Liberal Democrats victory was a result of voters voting against Brexit, as Goldsmith campaigned strongly for the Leave campaign.
She said: “Zac Goldsmith is a prominent leaver and has been very clear that he supports Brexit.
“A lot of people don’t like the way Brexit is heading. 48% of the people didn’t vote for Brexit.
“A lot of people in Richmond, including myself and a lot of the younger community don’t want Brexit and certainly don’t want the hard Brexit.”
Reflecting on the decision to not stand in the by-election Frieze said: “If we stood we certainly wouldn’t have got 1500 votes.
“But if we stood and the message hadn’t had got out about progressive alliances it could’ve been much closer and Zac could have won by a whisker.
“It was very hard not standing. I didn’t like the fact we didn’t have a Green voice talking about climate change, austerity and the issues we really care about. For the greater good, we did the right thing.
“And for next year I am looking forward to working with Lib Dems locally and nationally.”