THE GREEN Party has decided to 'stand aside' in Shipley at the General Election.

Instead, the party is supporting Sophie Walker in her attempt replace Conservative MP Philip Davies as the MP for the constituency, which includes Burley-in-Wharfedale and Menston.

Explaining the decision to endorse the Women's Equality Party leader, the Bradford Green Party's Campaign Co-ordinator Matt Edwards said: "Late last week, we were approached by Sophie Walker and her team about working

together in the upcoming election.

“Whilst we were initially sceptical, we have been convinced that Sophie is a candidate that the other progressive parties in Shipley should unite behind if they were willing to put the people of Shipley before their own political ambition.

"Many have been crying out for a new kind of politics were the left leaning parties work together to achieve their common goals, rather than attack each other over their differences."

The Green party is also calling on the local Liberal Democrat and Labour parties to follow their lead and, as they put it, 'unite behind a progressive, non-partisan' candidate.

Bradford Greens had previously held discussions with Shipley Labour Party about potential electoral co-operation, but those talks came to nothing.

Mr Davies secured a majority of 9,624 at the 2015 election when he received 50 per cent - 25,269 - of the votes.

Mr Edwards said: "In 2015 Labour, the Greens and the Lib Dems combined attracted only 40 per cent of the vote.

"It is clear that locally there is not enough support for us, separately, to defeat Mr Davies and now that he has entered into a 'regressive alliance' with UKIP - who have said they will not run against him - urgent and unconventional action is needed."

The National Co-Leader of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas, is backing the endorsement of Ms Walker.

She said: "Under the Conservative Government - the one Mr Davies has supported - we have seen the biggest rise in inequality since Margaret Thatcher was prime minister.

"Sophie has pledged to stand on an agenda that many Green Party members and supporters will agree with.

"She is also committed to a fair voting system, to campaigning to undo the privatisation of our NHS and to protecting the local environment, such as by opposing the plans to build an incinerator in Keighley."

Ms Walker said: "I am honoured to have the backing of the local Green Party and will work hard with them to oust Philip Davies.

“Our campaign will be one that values equality and fights injustice to build a caring, tolerant and sustainable future for all.

"The Green Party has been brave enough to set party politics aside to come together for the people of Shipley.

"Together we will show that a collaborative and progressive politics can transform our economy and society, by giving opportunities to all."

The Shipley constituency has had only one Labour MP since 1950 and is regarded as a safe Conservative seat.