The War Between the Greens and Lib Dems
The Greens are making a very tactically astute grab for left-leaning Lib Dem voters - and have taken the gloves off:
Their press release says:
"Following a series of policy announcements from Brian Paddick which have shown him moving away from Liberal Democrat positions, particularly on the environment, Green AMs Darren Johnson and Jenny Jones are to deliver an open letter to Nick Clegg at the Lib Dem headquarters in Cowley Street, London, inviting him and his party to back Green candidate Siân Berry instead.
Paddick has pledged to tear up environmental policies that have been supported by both the Greens and the Liberal Democrats on the Assembly, in favour of Conservative positions. He has said he would:
-- Scrap the Low Emissions Zone which was introduced in February to cut the 1,000 premature deaths caused annually by air pollution.
-- Cancel the £25 congestion charge for gas-guzzling Band G vehicles, a policy championed by Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone when she was an Assembly Member.
-- Privatising the tube network so that: "One company runs the tracks, trains, staffing and signalling for a fixed fee and TfL take the fare box." Lib Dem candidates contested the 2000 Assembly elections as "Liberal Democrats: Against Tube Sell-off."
Darren Johnson AM said: "It's increasingly clear that there is no Liberal Democrat candidate in this election. Brian Paddick, who holds the party's nomination, is has made it clear that his aim is to capture Conservative votes and he is turning his back on Lib Dem voters to do that.
"We expected a display of anti-environment, pro-privatisation posturing from Boris Johnson, but it comes as a surprise to see it from Paddick. Lib Dems are no doubt similarly shocked.
"Liberal Democrat voters have been placed in the unenviable position of being asked to vote for a Conservative with a yellow rosette, and most will now find themselves politically closer to the Green candidate then their own.
"Siân Berry may not be a Liberal Democrat, but neither is Brian Paddick. We are urging Lib Dem supporters who still care about public transport, health and climate change to vote Green this time."