Introducing our candidate for West Ham!

 

This weekend we were joined by London Assembly member, Sian Berry, to announce our candidate for East Ham in June’s General Election.

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Michael Spracklin, left, with Sian Berry and local spokesperson, Rachel Collinson

It was a great start to our London Young Greens action day – part of their weekend of Ed Balls Day events across London. Sian announced the winner of our members vote – which was unanimous in favour of Michael Spracklin, from Manor Park!

Michael has been our party treasurer for the past few years, and is an IT consultant by day. Mike is sadly one of the dwindling number of East London-born working class residents who has managed to live here his entire life, without being priced out. …Yet!

Concerns around housing and the rise in social injustice was a key part of why Michael joined the Green Party:

“The banks are still ripping us off – nothing has changed since 2008 to fix the system. The mainstream parties just bow down to the super-rich and lobbyists. I believe that the Tory government’s ideology driven “austerity” cuts should end. It’s grotesquely unfair. The super-rich, banks, and multinational companies should take their losses and pay their taxes.

A green, fair and prosperous society is not only achievable but necessary.

This is his first time standing as a general election candidate, inspired by his time campaigning for recent elections in the borough. If you’ve spoken to us on your doorstep, at one of our stalls or community events, you may well remember meeting Mike.

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Michael Spracklin chairing our Silvertown Tunnel town hall meeting in 2015

One of Michael hopes for this election campaign is to encourage voter turnout and show disillusioned locals why the Green Party are a valid choice. “The EU Referendum turnout in Newham was the second lowest in the country. During our campaigning we spoke to countless people who didn’t plan to vote because they didn’t feel their vote mattered. Newham’s residents deserve to have a voice, and many currently feel that they don’t.”

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No pass for Maryland station

Maryland residents and Green Party members have been campaigning to get Maryland station included in Zone 2/3

Maryland residents and Green Party members have been campaigning to get Maryland station included in ‘Zone 2/3’, like all other Stratford stations.

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‘Maryland is a Stratford station’ by @MarylandPoint

Sadly we discovered this week that the campaign to rezone Maryland as zone 2/3 hit a major stumbling block. Staff from the office of Mayor Sadiq Khan responded with a no, but only commented on the financial concerns campaigners had raised:

The re-zoning of stations in the Stratford area from Zone 3 to Zone 2/3 was done as part of plans to secure the Olympic legacy and on the basis that it would be self-funding due to the increased value of the land owned by the Greater London Authority in the area. These considerations do not apply in the same way to Maryland. The decision to re-zone the other stations was also made to prevent passengers from having to travel through Zone 3 on the Jubilee line to reach Stratford. Without these changes Jubilee Line users would still have had to buy a Zone 3 ticket, which would have put them at a disadvantage compared to Central Line users.

While we are disappointed about this, we’ll continue to urge TfL and the Labour Mayor of London that safety and overcrowding is an issue they should reconsider.

Rezoning Maryland to 2/3 would encourage residents to board there, easing the scary over-crowding at Forest Gate and Stratford stations. Already a real danger, particularly at rush hour and on West Ham match days, station over-crowding will only get worse once the Elizabeth link (aka Crossrail) opens for Stratford, Maryland and Forest Gate in December 2018.

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Newham Record piece on complaints to TfL about overcrowding at Stratford

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Yes, as an added bonus, it would make travel cheaper for local residents too, which could be a huge relief for many struggling with ever rising costs. However our main priority, and that of TfL and the Mayor of London’s office, should be in making sure all travellers are safe when using Newham’s stations.

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Local campaigners in the Friends of Maryland group have pledged to continue the campaign, with support from Councillor Seyi Akiwowo and their ongoing petition.

Hopefully the increase in foot traffic from the Elizabeth Line will lead to a full review of the situation, if we’re unable to get it resolved sooner.