UKIP’S parliamentary candidate Caroline Stephens has issued an unusual call for The Green Party and UKIP to ‘temporarily set aside their differences’ in order to show Stroud voters that there are genuine alternatives to Labour and The Conservative Party.
Despite residing at opposite ends of the political spectrum, with the Greens on the left and UKIP on the right, Mrs Stephens believes they should present a united front in order to break the stranglehold of the two main parties over the constituency.
Mrs Stephens seized on comments made last week by the Green Party MEP Molly Scott Cato following a poll by Lord Ashcroft that showed both UKIP and the Greens could expect to receive 11 per cent of the vote share at the next general election.
Drawing attention to Dr Scott Cato’s assertion that the Stroud constituency is now ‘a four-way split’ in terms of the vote, Mrs Stephens said: “I am absolutely thrilled and delighted that Green MEP Molly Scott-Cato has now confirmed that Stroud is a four horse race and that therefore UKIP has every chance of winning the seat.
“It is up to the Green Party and UKIP to both temporarily set aside their differences, disavow the Labour/Tory duopoly which has prevailed for far too many years here in Stroud, and to show Stroud's voters that they truly have a real alternative to the cosy and self serving consensus of the two big and discredited legacy parties.”
However, the statistics revealed by Lord Ashcroft’s poll would seem to contradict the view that either UKIP or the Greens could spring a surprise and claim the Stroud seat next May.
According to the Tory donor’s survey of prospective Stroud voters, the Conservatives can expect to receive around three times as many votes as either of the two smaller parties, while Labour appears set to capture four times as many as either the Greens or UKIP, placing them well ahead of the pack and currently on course for victory in the key battleground constituency.
On Tuesday, UKIP suffered a further blow as Green politicians rejected Mrs Stephens’ offer of a unity pact and queued up to denounce the party.
While acknowledging that the two parties did share a “recognition of the failure of the current mainstream political parties to represent and engage ordinary people”, the Green’s parliamentary candidate Chris Jockel insisted the common ground ended there.
“We believe UKIP promote a message of fear, division and potentially hatred born of a superficial, lazy and ultimately dishonest analysis of the national and local situation,” he said.
"Up and down the country, the Greens are often the only party openly challenging UKIP's xenophobic, far-right libertarian policies, rather than pandering to them.
Meanwhile, Green MEP Molly Scott Cato, said: “UKIP's candidate seems to subscribe to the adage that 'My enemy's enemy is my friend' but I have to tell her that the Greens choose their friends with more care than that.
“As a party dedicated to tolerance we would never be able to work with a party that trades in the politics of fear.”