Labour’s bid to unseat Tory grandee Iain Duncan Smith was handed a boost as the Green Party candidate announced he would stand aside.
John Tyne, the Greens’ candidate in Chingford and Woodford Green, said he was “tactically withdrawing” as Labour’s Faiza Shaheen tries to oust the ex-Conservative Party leader.
Duncan Smith, the ex-work and pensions secretary and architect of Universal Credit, has held the north-east London constituency since 1992. But his once-10,000 majority fell to just 2,400 in 2017.
Tyne said Shaheen had pledged to work with his party against airport expansions and to curb carbon emissions.
“Iain Duncan Smith has demonstrated through his horrendous record on welfare that he does not care for people who are struggling to make ends meet,” the party said. “He also disregards the seriousness of the climate emergency, having repeatedly voted in parliament against measures to reduce carbon emissions.
“Any decision that can lead to him being unseated is one that will mean we are a step closer to that greener and fairer world.”
One of Jeremy Corbyn’s first stops on the campaign trail was the target seat. The party is hopeful Shaheen can notch up a totemic win on December 12.
The Greens stressed the decision was a local agreement and not wider party policy, but they could come under increased pressure in the coming days after Nigel Farage said the Brexit Party would withdrawn 317 candidates to help Boris Johnson clinch victory.
In a statement, the Greens said: “This was a decision taken by the local party. The Green party places local democracy and local parties at the heart of its operations and in this election we will be standing in the vast majority of seats across the country and more than in 2017.
“The first weeks of this campaign have shown how it is the Green party who are putting the climate front and centre of this election.
“While Labour are still supporting airport expansion across the country, we are putting forward a transformative Green New Deal which will usher in the green transport revolution so clearly needed if we are to make the UK carbon-neutral by 2030.
“If Labour were serious in their concern for the environment they should reconsider their isolationist position on arrangements.”
The Greens have backed a Remain alliance with the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru, in which the parties have agreed to stand down in each other’s favour in 60 seats across England and Wales. Labour has refused to back any electoral pact.