THE Stroud and District Green Party has announced its parliamentary candidate for the 2015 General Election.

Environmental and sustainability consultant Chris Jockel will contest the Stroud constituency after being selected by fellow Green Party members.

A resident of the Stroud District for around 25 years, Mr Jockel lives in Eastcombe and works for a global certification and verification company that helps businesses control risk and improve performance.

The father of five is likely to be regarded as a rank outsider for the seat, with history and recent polls suggesting the race for the constituency will be dominated by the clash between current Tory MP Neil Carmichael and Labour’s parliamentary candidate David Drew.

According to a July survey commissioned by Lord Ashcroft, the Green Party is polling just 11 per cent of the vote in Stroud – the same as UKIP – while Labour and the Conservatives are well ahead on 41 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.

In his bid to upset the odds, however, Mr Jockel, a director of the Stroud-based social enterprise Creative Sustainability (CIC), can draw inspiration from the recent election of his party colleague and former SDC councillor Molly Scott Cato to the European Parliament.

Speaking from Brussels Dr Scott Cato, who was elected in May, said: “The results from the Euro-elections demonstrated that in the Stroud constituency it's a four-way split.

“My election and the election of Caroline Lucas in Brighton show that Greens can win national elections.

“It's now time to vote for a candidate who will fight for a fair economy, decent work, pay and housing as well as protect the environment on which ultimately all our wealth is dependent."

Her rallying cry was echoed by John Marjoram, who warned the local Labour Party that it could not count on Green supporters voting tactically next May to prevent a Conservative victory.

“Obviously the Labour Party expect the Greens to vote for them but they must recognise that we are a separate party and that our votes are not for sale,” said Cllr Marjoram.

“Unlike the Labour Party, for us fracking and the renewal of Trident is completely out of the question.”

However, speaking last week, former Labour MP David Drew said the reality was that the contest would be between himself and Neil Carmichael and that a vote for the Greens or the Lib Dems could lead to a Conservative hold.

But in an appeal to voters to consider voting for an alternative to the mainstream parties, Green Party district councillor Simon Pickering said: “Chris Jockel offers a fresh voice for the residents of Stroud District.

“Chris will promote policies for real change for the common good; decent pay and housing, real local democracy, a vibrant, dynamic and sustainable local economy focused on new, small to medium enterprises and innovation, community energy, local food and liveable urban and rural communities.”