Former Lib Dem Islington councillor joins the Green Party
PUBLISHED: 18:48 14 May 2015 | UPDATED: 18:48 14 May 2015
A former Liberal Democrat Islington Councillor has joined the Green Party following the Conservative victory in last week’s General Election.
Greg Foxsmith, who chose not to stand for re-election to his Hillrise seat in the council elections last May, resigned from Liberal Democrats in 2013 over their decision to support so-called “secret courts” and was an independent for his last year at the town hall.
But now Mr Foxsmith, a human rights lawyer, has joined the party which he believes is most likely to stand up to a Tory government which he says is will launch an attack on the rights he works to defend.
Mr Foxsmith said: “I remain committed to values of liberal democracy, and now firmly believe that The Green Party best represents those values. At a time when human rights are coming under attack from the Tory Government, I believe that The Green Party has the most credibility in making the case for supporting human rights.
“I believe that a fair justice system requires equal access to legal advice. Coalition cuts to Legal Aid threaten that, but went through with barely any opposition from Lib-Dems or Labour. Only The Green Party have a costed, genuine commitment to a properly funded and fair justice system.”
The Green Party has grown massively in Islington over the last few years, coming second overall in last May’s council elections and seeing a huge spike in membership – with almost a 70 per cent rise in membership in last September along.
Under the Justice and Security Act, which was given parliamentary approval in April 2013, trials can now be heard behind closed doors, with the public and journalists excluded. At the time of his resignation from the Liberal Democrats, Foxsmith said that they were “undemocratic and there is no justification for them.”
“The Green Party clearly stands for all the issues I care about and believe in; a coherent environment policy, scrapping Trident, a commitment to human rights and civil liberties, a fair voting system and a fairer society,” he said.
“The ‘Green Surge’ continues, and I know of many Labour and Lib Dem supporters who are now switching to The Green Party which best represents a proper opposition to the Government’s austerity programme. I am delighted to be part of this growing movement.”
Commenting on the former councillor joining her party, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said: “I am delighted to welcome Greg Foxsmith to The Green Party. The highly respected human rights lawyer and former councillor will be a valuable addition to our growing membership.
“Throughout the General Election campaign I was hearing from more and more people about how they were rejecting the business-as-usual parties in favour of the Greens’ message of a more positive and humane approach to politics.
“Our membership has surged again since the election and now stands at well over 66,000 in England and Wales. Greg is one of thousands of people who have joined us since the election and more people appreciate that the best way to combat austerity and secure civil liberties is to vote, support and join The Green Party.”