A LEADING member of Taunton Deane Green Party has explained why he pulled out of running in the General Election - and why he hopes a candidate he disagrees strongly with on many issues becomes our MP.

Clive Martin was all set to become a candidate for the third time in the December 12 poll, but stood aside to give Gideon Amos, of the LibDems, a better chance of winning.

In a similar 'pact', Penny Rowson, of the Brexit Party, decided against taking part in the election to bolster Conservative Rebecca Pow's chances of returning to Westminster for a third time.

While the Greens are hoping to assist the LibDems in blocking Brexit, Dr Rowson's party believe helping the Tories return to power will ensure the divorce from the European Union goes ahead promptly.

Mr Martin said: "I had wanted to run as the Green Party’s candidate in Taunton Deane as I did in the 2015 and 2017 elections.

"I had hoped to make the case for our radical environmental and social policies.

"Unfortunately this is not the 'climate change election' that I and my members and supporters had wanted it to be.

"Instead it is Brexit that is centre stage. If it is imposed on us it would be deeply damaging. It would be a victory for a narrow and backward looking nationalism."

Mr Martin added that "the real winners will be Trump and Putin" and said that "far right, nationalist forces" threaten democracy, peace and the future of the planet, with every chance of a Conservative government overseeing a chaotic no deal Brexit."

Mr Martin said people criticising his decision to withdraw from the election should understand that it is "necessary" because of our 'first past the post' electoral system, which the Conservatives and Labour support.

He said: "Although I disagree strongly with the LibDems on many policy issues they, like the Greens, are committed to a more proportional form of representation.

"Wherever we are, Greens believe in working constructively with others.

"Standing aside in this way is working with other parties for the common good and is the right thing to do for the people of Taunton Deane."

Labour is fielding Liam Canham in the election in the constituency, while John Hunt is standing as an Independent.