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Folkestone and Hythe council elections: Green Party and Liberal Democrats agree agree election pact

By Paul Francis

The Green Party and the Liberal Democrats have agreed an election pact in Folkestone and Hythe in a bid to challenge the Conservative grip on the council.

The two parties, who currently have no councillors, say their co-operation deal will improve the chances of challenging the Conservatives in May's poll.

Across the district, the parties plan to stand "complementary" candidate lists of 15 candidates each for the 30 seats up for election.

The Green Party Liberal Democrats will be working together in May's elections
The Green Party Liberal Democrats will be working together in May's elections

That means in certain wards, there will either be a Green candidate or Lib Dem candidate only.

The parties say the progressive alliance has been successfully adopted elsewhere in the country.

Green Party county councillor Martin Whybrow, who represents Hythe West division on KCC, said: “In my time on Kent County Council, I’ve worked well with the Liberal Democrat group.

"We agree on many national and local issues and share a belief that councils should be far more open and should listen to residents.

The Green Party's Martin Whybrow
The Green Party's Martin Whybrow

"We’re separate parties, and will remain so, but respect each other and will work together in the best interests of local people.”

Liberal Democrat campaigner and former county and district councillor Tim Prater said: “Folkestone and Hythe needs a change.

"It needs not just a few new councillors but a new politics.

"The Liberal Democrats and Green Party locally are determined to offer the change that local people deserve and a common-sense approach to delivering it: working together with others where we agree, respectfully debating where we don’t.”

Liberal Democrat and former county and district councillor Tim Prater
Liberal Democrat and former county and district councillor Tim Prater

The parties say the Conservative majority on the council has been unhealthy, with residents’ views often ignored.

Cllr Whybrow added: “This alliance makes a lot of sense.

"We are saying to the electorate, there is a more grown-up, sensible way to do politics that provides the best chance to gain a council that has a vision for the area, will protect the open spaces within and between our communities, will be transparent and will put local residents first.

"This sort of culture change is long-overdue.”

There are 23 Conservative councillors; four Ukip; two independents and one Foundation party member.

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