The Labour candidate for the newly vacant Mid Bedfordshire constituency has said the criticism of his support for Greenpeace is “desperate”.
Alistair Strathern suggested on Sunday he would continue to support the causes of the environmental campaigning group, but added an event in which he dressed as a zombie in November was “not the type of protest I would be attending now”.
The Sun newspaper revealed he had been part of a Greenpeace demonstration against the Government’s public order legislation where he was pictured with face paint and wearing a boiler suit outside the Home Office and the Houses of Parliament.
It led to calls from Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps to ban members of Greenpeace from standing for Labour.
Mr Strathern was campaigning with party activists in Flitwick on Sunday, a day after Nadine Dorries confirmed her resignation as MP.
He told the PA news agency: “I think the fact that turning up to one peaceful protest in fancy dress became national news highlighted how desperate it feels like some of the opposition are getting, and how much they recognise we are the opposition here in Mid Bedfordshire, and we’re the party that’s got an opportunity to change things.
“For myself, I’ll always be someone who stands up for what I believe in, but I think it’s also important – given how our previous MP behaved – that you really respect the dignity of the office of being an MP.
“It’s not the type of protest I would be attending now, but it’s absolutely the type of cause – standing up for civil liberties and action on our environment – that I know people in Mid Bedfordshire are passionate about too.
“And those are the types of issues alongside the NHS, schools and local policing, that I’ll be looking to deliver for them as their MP.”
And we’re off in Flitwick!
This election is our chance for change in Mid Beds.
Our towns and villages desperately need better representation, and polling shows that @UKLabour has a great chance to deliver exactly that🌹
— Alistair Strathern (@alistrathern) August 27, 2023
The Labour candidate likened Ms Dorries’ resignation to “Christmas Day” and said the news filled him with “excitement and relief”.
He added: “People in Mid Beds don’t want an MP shouting from the sidelines – they want someone who can get stuck in, roll their sleeves up with stakeholders in the constituency, but also be part of a bigger party in Parliament that’s able to deliver for them on the national stage.”
The Conservative former culture secretary finally handed in her resignation 11 weeks after she first vowed to go, sparking another potentially damaging electoral test for the Conservatives this autumn as the party languishes in the national polls.