In response to Downfield sixth-formers calling for Molly Scott Cato to stand down, the Green candidate in the upcoming general election has asked the students to reject the two main parties.

You are clearly aware of the leadership shown by the Green Party nationally as well as here in Stroud on the most important issue facing the planet and your generation: the climate crisis.

As you acknowledge, it is Green pressure and leadership that has led Labour to recognise the climate emergency. Sadly though they are failing to put their words into action. A majority of Labour MPs voted for Heathrow expansion, they sideline the need for a green transport revolution, and their spending plans depend on the very economic growth that is destroying our planet.

We share your view that our electoral system is unfair and undemocratic. Every election we are fed a message of fear and told to vote tactically because of first past the post. But this time parties determined to Stop Brexit and reform our voting system are working together. So the Liberal Democrats have stood aside for me in Stroud so that we only have one Remain candidate. We asked the Labour Party to cooperate to avoid splitting the Remain vote and they refused.

We believe any type of Brexit threatens your opportunities to travel, work, live and enjoy life across our amazing continent of Europe. Labour have failed to commit to Remain. Many people voted Labour in 2017 believing it to be a Remain party only to find their votes used to back a ‘jobs first Brexit’.

The European Elections earlier this year showed huge support in Stroud for both Green and Lib Dem candidates fighting on a Remain ticket, while support for Labour and the Conservatives tumbled. The combined pro-remain vote was over 50%, more than enough to get an unambiguously Remain MP elected in Stroud.

The Green Party is supported by millions in this country but has only one MP, Caroline Lucas. To try and ensure fair representation in our current unfair electoral system we must win further seats and obviously we will target areas with high levels of Green support, such as Stroud. We are running to win and believe that Stroud will be brave and will make history by voting Green.

As you consider your first vote, I’m asking you to reject the stranglehold of the two main parties and their politics of fear. This is what has led us to the stagnation and hostility in our parliament. Our politics is broken. If you want politics to change, then you have to vote for something different.

Molly Scott Cato MEP.