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Lone Green’s last-gasp fight to save seat

Lucas joins candidate hoping to prevent landslide that would bring a Labour ‘one-party state’

04 May, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Caroline Russell leads the Greens’ polling-day push to win over voters

ISLINGTON’S sole opposition councillor took the battle to hold her seat to the streets yesterday (Thursday) in a last-ditch attempt to stop a Labour landslide at the local elections.

Caroline Russell, of the Green Party, said she would not stop campaigning until polls closed at 10pm. Counting takes place today (Friday) with results ann­ounced tonight. She was joined yesterday morning by Green Party leader Caroline Lucas.

“We are quietly hopeful that I will have colleagues in the Town Hall. Every vote counts – I got elected with just eight votes,” Ms Russell said.

She was “heartened” by responses she received when door knocking. “People tell me I’ve worked hard on the council and they trust the Green Party. I am hopeful,” she said.

Ms Russell said it was “incredibly hard work” being the sole opposition councillor in a Town Hall with 47 Labour councillors. She added: “People don’t want to see one party pushing forward just one idea without debate. The main thing is residents across my borough can see that having a sole councillor out of 48 people just makes no sense.

“People think it’s unbalanced and they want debate and discussion.”

The Greens are hoping that voters who traditionally support other major parties would join them in helping prevent Labour win an absolute majority.

Tracy Ismail, a former Lib Dem councillor in St George’s ward, sent a letter to residents in her neighbourhood, asking them to join in supporting the Green Party.

She said she knew “how important having councillors from different parties on a council is”.

Ms Ismail, who was on the council between 2006 and 2014, said: “This is one of the few places that has a realistic opportunity of electing anything other than Labour councillors.

“Our choice here is to elect three Green councillors to provide balance on the council, or to elect three Labour councillors and risk a one-party state. We simply must act to safeguard democracy.”

Ms Russell said she had come face to face with Town Hall Labour leader Richard Watts during canvassing. “We chat and wish each other well,” she said.

Ms Russell added: “Even the Lib Dem tellers wanted a photo with Caroline.

“We know we can’t win an election through last-minute campaigning. It takes years of building trust, working hard for people and showing you can get a good job done.”

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