The Green Party in Brighton has been criticised for selecting a candidate who once described the 1984 Brighton Bomb attack on Conservative Party Conference as “justifiable act of political warfare”. Richard Stanton was selected to fight Queen’s Ward on Brighton and Hove Council after the sitting councillor Ben Duncan was forced to stand down for calling soldiers “hired killers”.
The Labour Party wrote to the Green Party complaining about Stanton’s comments, even though they were made when he was one of their own councillors. He has since defected to the Greens, who have controlled the council since they beat the Conservatives in 2011. Since then they have come up with a whole raft of bizarre policies including transgendered toilets, an attempted ban on meat pies in staff canteens and a ban on fracking despite their being no shale gas under the City.
Whilst some of the Green policies may seem amusing, Lord Tebbit, who was almost killed in the Brighton bomb attack, said the Mr Stanton should be treated with “utter comtempt”. He told the Sunday Times: “No doubt he would feel it was entirely justified if somebody killed him.
“He should be treated with complete and utter contempt and the same goes for the Green party for encouraging people to support murder.”
Tebbit and his wife were amongst dozens of Conservatives trapped in the Grand Hotel after a bomb intended to kill Margaret Thatcher caused a chimney stack to plunge through the building, killing five and injuring 31. Margaret Tebbit was almost completely paralysed by the attack, and has made very little improvement since. Her need for constant care led to Tebbit resigning from government, despite being tipped as a future Prime Minister.
Criticism of Stanton’s comments also came from the Green Party of Northern Ireland. The leader of the Greens on the Northern Ireland Assembly, Steven Agnew, told The Newletter: “I could not envisage a situation whereby someone who had made those comments would be selected for the party in Northern Ireland – it would certainly not happen under my watch. It’s something I am disappointed in. I will not defend those comments.”
Conservative Councillor Graham Cox, who was a serving Sussex Police officer at the time of the bombing, said: “To select someone to stand for the council here in Brighton who thinks the bombing was somehow justified, and appears to stand by those views, seems insensitive to say the least.”
But the Green Party hit back, a spokesman said opponents were “dredging up a news story from decades ago”. They have confirmed that they still plan to run Stanton for council despite the criticisms of him.