General Election 2017: Caroline Russell and Benali Hamdache announced as Green candidates

Caroline Russell will contest Islington North and Benali Hamdache will stand in Islington South and

Caroline Russell will contest Islington North and Benali Hamdache will stand in Islington South and Finsbury. Picture: Islington Green Party - Credit: Archant

Caroline Russell last night claimed she was the only realistic candidate to contest Jeremy Corbyn’s Islington North seat in June’s general election.

Cllr Russell, currently the sole opposition member of Labour-controlled Islington Council, was selected by the Greens last night. She stood in the 2015 election, finishing third with 5,043 votes compared to Mr Corbyn’s 29,659.

She echoed Islington Liberal Democrats in hinting Brexit would form the basis of her campaign. Islington North voted 78 per cent to remain in the EU in last year’s referendum.

Labour leader Mr Corbyn imposed a whip on his MPs to follow the result in Parliament, insisting that the party must respect the outcome of the vote.

But Cllr Russell said: “Islington is one of the most pro-European areas in the country, and yet our local MPs have voted with the Tories in support of triggering an extreme version of Brexit with devastating economic and environmental consequences.

“I will speak up for everyone who believes in the stability of Europe and values the closest possible partnership with our European neighbours.”

The Lib Dems were booted out of Islington Council in the 2014 local elections, partly because of Cllr Russell’s success in the party’s Highbury East stronghold.

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And she added: “I am the clear choice that could seriously contend for the seat where 78 pc of people voted to remain. Despite my respect for the work that Jeremy Corbyn has done as our constituency MP, I feel that as Labour leader he is not listening to Islington’s views on this fundamental issue.”

Meanwhile, Benali Hamdache will stand against Emily Thornberry for the Islington South and Finsbury seat. Mrs Thornberry also voted in favour of Brexit in Parliament and like Mr Corbyn, she said the national vote of the referendum must be respected.

But Mr Hamdache, a regular campaigner at Islington Council meetings, said: “Islington South and Finsbury is a seat that voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU [72 pc] but is currently represented by Emily Thornberry who voted in favour of triggering Article 50, endorsing the Government’s plans to lead us to an extreme Brexit.

“Many voters are considering their options and I want to stand on a strong pro-EU platform.”

From the Lib Dems, Alain Desmier is fighting Mrs Thornberry and Keith Angus is standing for Mr Corbyn’s seat.

The Conservatives, which finished second in both constituencies in 2015, have yet to announce their candidates.