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Greens drop some candidates after social media probe

By Paul SeddonBBC Politics

Reuters Green Party rosetteReuters

The Green Party says it has blocked a “small number” of election candidates after an investigation into their online activity.

The party was still examining previous social media posts hours before nominations closed at 16.00 BST on Friday.

It was already known that four candidates are not running, after a probe into reports of antisemitic or extreme comments.

But it is not yet clear whether, or how many any, other candidates have been dropped.

Co-leader Adrian Ramsay told the BBC on Thursday that four candidates were “no longer standing,” without specifying whether they had been dropped or withdrew themselves.

It comes as The Times reports party officials were examining nearly 20 candidates over online material on Thursday night, less than 24 hours before the deadline.

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In a statement, the party said it had taken “decisive action” against a “small number of people who did put themselves forward”.

“We would never allow anybody antisemitic to stand for the Green Party,” a spokesperson added.

The Greens are hoping to field candidates in every seat in England and Wales for the first time at the surprise general election called last month.

This requires the candidates to find 575 candidates in total, 103 more than at the last election in 2019. The Scottish Greens are a separate party.

The party has defended its vetting processes, but has faced accusations some of its candidates have expressed or shared antisemitic statements online.

The Greens have previously said they are working with Lord Mann, a former Labour MP and the government’s advisor on antisemitism, “to better educate Green representatives about anti-Jewish racism”.

‘Wake-up call’

The Board of Deputies of British Jews accused the Greens of taking too long to act on “such a clear problem”.

“Serious parties need to take candidate selection seriously – the Greens need to see this as a wake-up call,” the community group added.

On Thursday, Mr Ramsay defended the party’s investigation process, saying it was independent of the party leadership and this was a “matter of good governance”.

“Like any other party, we have candidates who are selected and end up not standing. That’s no different to anyone else,” he added.

“If anyone has a situation where questions are raised about comments people have raised, those are properly investigated.”

The Greens took a pro-ceasefire stance early on during the war in Gaza and are calling for tougher action against Israel, including boycotts and stopping UK arms sales to the Israeli military.

It has previously said it opposes “any efforts to exploit the ongoing tragedy in Israel-Palestine to foster division, intensify antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of racism”.

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