The Tory and Lib Dem candidates raised eyebrows at an election debate this week when both said they would vote for the Greens if their own party was not standing in the Berwick constituency.
In front of a capacity audience at a debate organised by Friends of the Earth in Alnwick on Tuesday, the candidates were asked by a member of the public who they would vote for to represent the constituency if they could not vote for themselves or their own party.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the Conservative Party candidate, and Liberal Democrat Julie Pörksen both replied that they would vote for Green Party candidate Rachael Roberts. UKIP Candidate Nigel Coghill-Marshall said he would vote Conservative.
Ms Trevelyan later explained: “When asked as a fun last question to the evening which party I would vote for if I could not vote for my own party, I explained that on micro-level policy I would vote Green. Although, I made it clear that I fundamentally disagreed with Green party macro-environmental policies.”
Ms Pörksen said: “The Green party have some good ideas on the environment, but I would have some serious misgivings about the illiberal and authoritarian way the Greens say they would govern and how they would be able to meet the cost of their policies.”
An audience of 120 people attended the debate, which was held at St James’ Church Hall on Pottergate.
Ms Roberts said: “It was an interesting question to ask and I was encouraged by the answers given by Anne-Marie and Julie. Environmental issues whether they be energy production and security, transport, climate change, fracking or flooding have an impact on all of us. They affect our quality of life, job opportunities, health, standard of living and the wider economy.
“It was reassuring to see the other parties recognise the strength and sense of Green party policies on these and other issues. I hope this view will be reflected in government when MPs from all parties will need to work together to address the challenge we face.”
Mr Coghill-Marshall said: “I stated that while I was not advocating a formal coalition between myself and the Conservatives, that on environmental issues it would probably be the Conservatives as their policies were closest to Ukip’s. The question was designed to lighten the mood after what was a fairly intense period of questions and I attempted to join in the spirit of the question.”
When Ms Roberts was asked who she would vote for if she could not vote Green, she said she would spoil her ballot.