12 Days Remaining

Thursday 3rd
posted by Luke James in Britain

GREEN councillor Sian Berry vowed to block plans to demolish a west London council estate yesterday after being selected to fight next year’s London mayoral election.

Ms Berry (pictured), who came fourth for the Greens in the 2008 election and had the support of MP Caroline Lucas, was widely seen as the favourite to win selection.

On the left of the party, she will target traditional Labour voters but says Greens should not give Labour their second preference.

The Green Party said the poll of their 11,493 London members was “extremely close,” although they did not issue a breakdown of the election results.

The result of the month-long contest was announced at an Earl’s Court estate which is due to be flattened to make way for luxury flats.

Residents of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates in Hammersmith and Fulham have begun a legal bid to take their homes into community ownership.

In her acceptance speech, Ms Berry pledged to stop the demolition and back a “resident takeover” of threatened council estates.

With 8,000 council and social homes being lost in the last decade, she described housing as an “absolute key problem to sort out” for the city.

“We must act to stop the need everyone has to put a decent roof over their heads from being exploited, and find new ways of making London truly affordable again,” she said.

An 80/1 shot for mayor, she is unlikely to be elected but a strong campaign will boost the Greens’ chances of winning three Assembly Members for the first time since 2004.

Ms Berry is top of the Green’s 11-name list for the Assembly, with Highbury councillor Caroline Russell second and national welfare spokesman Jonathan Bartley in third.

Deputy leader Shahrar Ali is unlikely to be elected after coming fifth.

Both current Green AMs Jenny Jones and Darren Johnson are stepping down after serving from the Assembly’s creation in 2000.

Reflecting on her 16 years in City Hall yesterday, Ms Jones said: “I’ve seen more and more Londoners grow tired of having their city and their lives wrestled away from them and given over to private interests.”