THE SELECTED Green Party candidate for Ilkley and Keighley has announced she will not stand in the general election.

Cllr Ros Brown, Ilkley’s Deputy Mayor, made the “very difficult decision” because of her commitment to a project which will help shape the future of the town. The local party has announced it will not put forward an alternative candidate.

Cllr Brown, who stood in the 2017 general election, said: “When I stand for election at any level of government I commit myself, if elected, to following through on my commitments to electors.

“In May 2019 I was voted on to Ilkley Town Council and volunteered to take responsibility for leading the Ilkley Neighbourhood Development Plan project. This project had reached a critical stage when the general election was announced with a statutory six week consultation and public engagement period beginning on 7th November. Due to the time of heightened sensitivity leading up to the general election (‘purdah’) if I had stood as a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate I could not also lead the consultation during this time, thus stalling the process until 2020.”

She added: “The Neighbourhood Plan represents years of work by town councillors from across the political spectrum and experienced volunteers. It is concerned with land use and development and is vital for allowing the people who live, work and do business in Ilkley to shape the future of the town. It is also important for meeting the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss in a tangible way in our South Pennines environment which extends far beyond Ilkley. I do not want to delay this Plan’s progress which is why I have taken the very difficult decision not to stand in the general election on 12th December.”

Cllr Brown said: “Keighley and Ilkley Green Party had to decide at this late date between not standing a candidate or standing a ‘paper’ candidate; someone whose name appears on the ballot paper but does not actively engage in general election campaigning. This would mean receiving hundreds of emails as well as invitations to appear in the media and at local hustings but needing to decline these opportunities while paying the £500 deposit for doing so. For some members it was important to stand a paper candidate to enable people to vote Green however the majority of members at the meeting voted, for several reasons, not to support this option.”