‘It’s not ridiculous – there could be a Green PM’: Twickenham candidate explains Liberal Democrat defection

Disillusionment with the coalition government was the reason why Twickenham Green Party candidate Tanya Williams abandoned the Liberal Democrats.

Ms Williams ran for the Lib Dems in local elections in 2006 and 2010 and for the Greens in 2014, but will now stand against incumbent Business Secretary Vince Cable.

Even before Dr Cable, who has represented Twickenham at Westminster since 1997, became a key player in the coalition government she felt she couldn’t support the party any more.

“When they joined the coalition I was so shocked I left the party at that point,” she said.

“My politics is to the left of the Lib Dems and it made no sense in my view to do anything with the Conservatives.

“A lot of people are so upset. They tell me: ‘We voted for the Lib Dems to keep the Conservatives out, and what do we get?’

“I’ve had to vote tactically all my life and I’m fed up with it.”

Both parties may be considered minority in the constituency, with Labour receiving 7.7% of the vote in 2010 and the Greens just 1.1%.

Ms Williams explained it was demoralising to hear people saying only David Cameron or Ed Miliband will be prime minister in May.

She said: “We would never in a million years form a coalition with the Conservative party because everything they do is antithetical to what we want to achieve.

“Suppose that everyone voted Green, there would be a Green prime minister. It’s conceivable, it’s not ridiculous.

“The Conservative Lord Ashcroft has said there are 11,500 people living in marginal seats who will decide the fate of the election.

“But we’ve got thousands of people in Twickenham, aren’t they going to decide the fate of the election?”

Ms Williams added that her work with the homeless charity SPEAR for the last six years drove her sense of social justice.

She said: “It was quite upsetting on the helpline, because I was getting calls from prisons and psychiatric hospitals who wanted to discharge their clients, which was really shocking.

“Prisons and psychiatric hospitals have a statutory duty to house people who are vulnerable. But because of the austerity cuts they had no funding.

“At the heart of it is real human beings, and the austerity made me very angry and upset. Anybody could become homeless, it could be you or me.”

David Cameron caused controversy in November 2013 for allegedly saying ‘get rid of all the green crap’, having previously ‘hugged a husky’ in 2006 to prove his concern for the environment.

Ms Williams believes that some political parties pretend to be green as a ploy to get into office.

“What happens is at election time the other parties try to play the environmental card but when it comes to it they think of it as ‘green crap’.”

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