Rochdale by-election: Green Party candidate no longer endorsed by party just weeks before voters go to the polls

Date published: 07 February 2024

The candidate for the Green Party at the Rochdale by-election is no longer being endorsed by the party, it has been announced, just days after nominations were confirmed.

Guy Otten, who was one of the 11 candidates announced on Friday, has been axed as the Green Party’s nomination since old social media posts came to light over the weekend. The posts on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, showed the candidate making reference to the Muslim faith and Gaza conflict in posts from 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Mr Otten will not be endorsed by the party in the upcoming election and nor will he participate in media interviews, canvassing or any hustings – but he has not been kicked out of the party, the Local Democracy Reporting Service understands.

The retired lawyer and tribunal judge said in a statement that he has stepped down from the race in order to stop distractions from the Green Party message. However, the candidate list has already been made official, meaning voters will still be able to tick the box next to his name under the Green Party banner when they go to the polling station on 29 February.

Mr Otten’s statement read: “The Green message is too urgent and too important to be distracted by some regrettable social media posts I made a number of years ago. In the interests of the Green Party I have decided to leave the stage. 

“As nominations have now closed, my name will still appear on the ballot. However, I will not take part in any media interviews or join any platforms for hustings, and neither will I be involved in any campaigning.

“I am really delighted that the Green Party is on the verge of making major breakthroughs in a number of constituencies in the next general election. Strong Green representation in parliament is needed now more than ever.”

A Green Party spokesperson said: “The Rochdale Green Party candidate has said that he has ‘decided to leave the stage’ following social media posts made some years ago. As nominations have now closed, his name will still appear on the ballot. However, he will not take part in any campaigning between now and polling day.

“We do not comment on disciplinary matters regarding Green Party members. These are internal matters. However, we are clear, we condemn all forms of racism and discrimination and do not accept it from any Green Party representative or spokesperson.”

George Lythgoe, Local Democracy Reporter

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