8 Feb 2015

Union boss goes Green against Miliband’s ‘red Conservatives’

The president of RMT rail union announces he will stand for the Green Party at the general election, after claiming that Labour had become a “reddish Conservative Party”.

Peter Pinkney, whose union represents more than 80,000 workers across the UK, will stand for the Greens in Redcar, a constituency that had been won by the Liberal Democrats in the last election.

Read more: Is Nick Clegg on course to lose his seat?

In a statement, the lifelong socialist criticised Labour for “betraying” unions and workers, adding that he was attracted to the Greens by their plans to renationalise the railways, as well as other left-leaning policies.

The dramatic move by the ex-TUC General Council member threatens to derail Labour’s campaign in one of its top target seats.

According to the latest polling by Lord Ashcroft, Labour candidate Anna Turley has been predicted to gain an additional 19 per cent of the votes in the constituency, as the Liberal Democrats are forecasted to fall to fourth place after Ukip.

Lib Dem MP for Redcar, Ian Swales, revealed on Friday that he would be standing down from parliament, paving the way for the Greens to gain from the losses. But the Conservative pollster put the Greens on just 2 per cent.

‘Reddish Conservative Party’

Mr Pinkney reported that his members would never affiliate to Labour or any other party again. He said: “It was a unanimous decision to disaffiliate with Labour and our members would never want to go back.

“The press calling him ‘Red Ed’ is a joke. A minimum of 75 per cent of people want to see the railways renationalised. He has never once said he would take the railways back into public hands – not even East Coast.

“In my opinion the party of the left is now the Green Party.”

Labour hit back saying that a vote for the Green Party is a vote for David Cameron, despite 10 Labour councillors resigning from the party on Wednesday in protest in how it had been run locally.

A vote for the Green Party is a vote for David Cameron. Labour spokesman

A Labour North spokesman added: “The choice in front of Redcar people in May is between a Tory or a Labour government.

“For all those passionate about the green agenda only Labour has the record and plans to deliver a green government.”