I’m Rev Mark Coleman, and I am standing for Parliament in the by-election following the death of Sir Tony Lloyd, our MP. Tony was a exceptional representative for Rochdale and he will be sadly missed. I have happy memories of working with him when I was the Vicar of Rochdale.
I retired early due to Parkinson’s disease, in 2020. I have continued to serve in Rochdale as a Church of England priest. I live with my wife, Wendy, a former Labour councillor and Assistant Portfolio Holder for Climate Change. We have two grown up sons.
What I stand for
The people of Rochdale deserve the truth - we need radical action on climate right now to stand any chance of a safe and stable future. Government policies have put us well on the way to climate hell, and the Labour Party is willing to let that happen. I'm horrified that the Labour Party will not revoke the new oil and gas licences given out by this Conservative government. Rosebank is the UK’s largest undeveloped field and the emissions from that will cause massive suffering and death.
Vote for me in this election to show you want failing Westminster politicians to step up and defend our future.
We need politicians who will act to stop global energy companies burning our future to make eye watering profits. We need MPs who put the defence of ordinary people ahead of big business. MPs who understand that the climate and cost of living crises are part of the same thing - a system which benefits the rich elites at the expense of the rest of us. MPs who do what is right rather than what is easy. MPs prepared to say what is happening in Gaza is Genocide and that an immediate ceasefire is urgently needed. If elected I will be such an MP.
We have one of the highest rates of child poverty in the UK. Our food banks are at their limit. Our mortgages, rent and energy bills are sky high. These problems can be addressed through taxing the super-rich, removing the billions paid to big oil companies each year in tax breaks and subsidies, and a rapid switch to cheap renewable energy.
I am not prepared to watch while the government plans for millions of people to die and Labour goes along with it. 2023 was the hottest year on record - soon we’ll be having food shortages. What does that mean for Rochdale families? Both Labour and Tory politicians are not being honest about the scale of the crisis and the speed of change we need to avoid disaster. We need to come together and choose a new future.
Some of my supporters
Prominent local green businessman, Richard Hagan:
"I want to vote for someone who will selflessly build on Sir Tony Lloyd’s legacy and that is why I'm backing Mark. Like Tony, Mark is in service to our community and stands against all forms of oppression and corruption. Like Tony, Mark knows that the biggest challenge we face is the climate emergency and the cost of living crisis it’s causing.
"Mark will not have to obey the party whip or do the bidding of rich corporate donors. He will be free to speak truth to power.
"Who else do you know who has been to prison for trying to get the government to do the right thing? Mark went to prison for trying to get our homes insulated so that our energy bills are affordable and thousands won’t die in cold, damp homes each winter. He understands that home insulation is the first step to ending fuel poverty and cutting carbon emissions. He leads, he cares, he is unafraid and he is bold. We need change and Mark is the person for the job."
Professor Bill McGuire, Volcanologist, climate scientist, writer, broadcaster, activist, socialist, best-selling author of Hot House Earth: an inhabitants guide (Tweet, 4/2/24)
“If you live in Rochdale, care about the world your kids and their kids will inherit, and are sick of Labour's backtracking on climate, then you know where to put your cross.”
Jane Touil (Rochdale resident and my election agent):
"Mark has complete integrity. He tells the truth about how serious and urgent the climate crisis is. He has sacrificed a great deal in acting on his conscience. We need to rethink the way we do politics so that we can tackle the many connected crises we face. Politicians have failed on climate for 40 years and time has run out."
Pat Sanchez (Littleborough resident):
"Mark is honest: he won’t pretend we can wait for the radical changes we need to protect future generations. He appreciates the work of committed local councillors to protect what they can, but knows they lack the powers and resources to do what is necessary. The situation will only change with urgent action at national level. I know my support for Mark means leaving the Labour Party, which makes me sad - but not as sad as seeing Labour let huge climate-destroying oil and gas projects go ahead."
More about me
I have a long history of making change happen. When a vicar in Liverpool I set up a community garden and cafe, and stood for the Green Party in Council elections. In 2019 I joined Christian Climate Action and had my first climate protest arrest. In 2020 I helped set up Extinction Rebellion Rochdale. In 2021, recognising the urgent need for home insulation to reduce dangerous emissions and prevent deaths in cold and damp homes in Rochdale, I took action with Insulate Britain. I was arrested 9 times for sitting on London roads, including the M25.
In 2022, when Just Stop Oil was established, I was arrested for holding a sign that said “Jesus Wept” outside the Kingsbury Oil Terminal in the midlands. I have broken High Court injunctions and spent time in prison in Birmingham and London. These have been acts of nonviolent resistance to bring about change. I have acted out of love for my neighbour. I have put my body on the line so that the government will be pressured to act to protect the people who elected them.