The Green Party has declared that it will not be fielding a candidate in the Sleaford and North Hykeham byelection - but will instead be supporting independent candidate Sarah Stock who is standing on a ‘Save the NHS’ platform.
A statement released by the Green Party this evening (Saturday) said: “At a meeting of the East Midlands Region and South Lincolnshire Green Parties it was agreed to support Sarah Stock, a prominent member of the Fighting 4 Grantham Hospital (F4GH) campaign, who is standing as an Independent candidate in the by-election on a Save the NHS platform”
Sarah - who has no affiliation to the Green Party - is a former senior nurse, subsequently working in the care services.
Speaking after their meeting, Peter Allen, the Green Party’s East Midlands regional co-ordinator said: ‘The Green Party fully supports this long-running campaign to defend Accident and Emergency services in Lincolnshire.
“We have met with Sarah and we share her concern about the under-funding of the NHS across Lincolnshire and the rest of the UK.
“The Green Party believes that a clear challenge to the Government on this crucial issue is needed and that Sarah Stock is the best person to deliver this challenge. As winter approaches the NHS is at crisis point because of government policy. This campaign must send a clear message to the Government to provide adequate funding for the NHS.”
Having taken the decision to stand down in favour of Sarah Stock, the Green Party has called on both Labour and the Liberal Democrats to do the same.
Peter Allen said: “This is the key issue that must be addressed in the campaign. The Greens ask other progressive parties to put the interests of the people of Sleaford and North Hykeham, and of the country, ahead of party ambition and give Sarah Stock a clear run against government health policy.”
Welcoming the support from the Green Party, Sarah explained: “With the downgrading of local rural hospitals, the national agenda for changes to our NHS is not working for Lincolnshire and a rural strategy needs to be actioned urgently.
“A & E services are our vital lifeline in this rural area and they must not be downgraded or closed.
“I have been an avid campaigner for Fighting 4 Grantham and District Hospital Accident and Emergency Department over these past 6 weeks, and F4GH are supporting my campaign.
“The reliance on apathy and the feeling that we cannot effect change is almost expected, it seems. Not any more. Lincolnshire needs to be heard.’