A GREEN Party candidate has urged constituents in Stockton South to vote Labour in a bid to defeat incumbent Conservative James Wharton.

Jo Fitzgerald said she now wanted her followers to vote for Labour candidate Dr Paul Williams instead, to tactically rid the area of a Conservative MP who she said had done “nothing outside of Yarm and Eaglescliffe”.

She said: “We want to unseat James Wharton. Stockton South is a very diverse constituency, much more than just Yarm and Eaglescliffe. I live in central Stockton so I am aware of how diverse the area is and the impact of austerity cuts here.

“I think Paul Williams is a very competent Labour candidate and as it is a choice between blue and red, because we live in a two-party state due to the first-past-the-post system, it is important people vote strategically here.

“What we really need is electoral reform so people can vote for the parties that represent their views.

“The Green Party is made up of activists and campaigners and we spend our time campaigning for the rights of people. However much I would like to be popular we are not ego scoring politicians.

“And personally I think the best outcome for Stockton South would be for Labour to get in.”

She said the most vital thing for the country was to save the NHS.

The Green Party polled just over 900 votes in Stockton South in 2015.

Dr Williams is a GP who trained in the Accident and Emergency department at North Tees and has led a cooperative of local GPs to provide out of hours services in the Stockton area. He also ran a service for refugees and has worked in Uganda, developing a hospital there and treating HIV and malaria victims.

Mr Wharton, who was contacted for comment last night, has been MP for Stockton South since beating Labour’s Dari Taylor by a narrow majority in 2010. In 2015 he widened his majority to over 5,000. However he was criticised by some for a perceived lack of action during the closure of Redcar’s steelworks in 2015. His election campaign this year has been comparatively low-key.