7th May 2017
A ground-breaking progressive forum in South-West Surrey on Saturday saw Dr Louise Irvine of the National Health Action Party garner cross-party support to stand as the single progressive candidate to stand up to Tory Goliath, Jeremy Hunt in June's general election.
The local Green Party is withdrawing their candidate in a show of solidarity, and local Labour and Liberal Democrat members have publicly urged their parties to follow suit and stand aside to put Jeremy Hunt's questionable handling of the NHS front and centre in the South-West Surrey constituency election campaign.
Steve Williams, chair of South-West Surrey Compass and a supporter of Progressive Alliance said:
“Jeremy Hunt is a deeply unpopular MP amongst many of his constituents who hold him responsible for the current sorry state of the National Health Service.
“[he] is now facing a serious challenge from a highly capable and articulate GP who is well accustomed to taking on Jeremy Hunt and fighting for keeping our National Health Service as a high quality, well funded public service; providing world class healthcare for all, free to the user at the point of use.”
Dr Louise Irvine successfully led the campaign in 2012 which defeated the government in court, when the Secretary of Health attempted to downgrade casualty and maternity units. She said of Saturday's public forum:
“I am honoured and delighted that people in South-West Surrey have chosen me as a Progressive Alliance candidate and I am ready to challenge Jeremy Hunt on his government's disastrous NHS policies as well as the huge damage they are doing to our society in many areas such as education, housing and the environment."
Prior to the local elections, held earlier this month, South-West Surrey Compass brokered an agreement between the Lib Dems and Labour in the division of Godalming North to assist the Liberal Democrats in their campaign to beat the Conservatives. The campaign was successful and the seat was won.
Penny Rivers, newly-elected councillor for Godalming North and progressive candidate, who won on a 27-point swing said:
“I am clear that this election result in Godalming North would not have happened if all the parties had stood. It was because Labour graciously stepped aside, allowing voters a chance to concentrate and deliver a meaningful vote. The result of this election shows that a Progressive Alliance works.”
Following yesterday's meeting the local Green party decided not to contest the seat.
Susan Ryland, the Green candidate for South-West Surrey in 2015, said:
“There's a clear consensus amongst campaigners in South-West Surrey to stand a single progressive candidate against Jeremy Hunt. I'm pleased to announce that the local Green Party will be stepping aside and throwing our support behind Dr Louise Irvine.
“We can change the government on June 8th but it requires progressives to come together.”