OUCA President plans to run in City Council elections

first_imgOXFORD UNIVERSITY Conservative Association President Alex Stafford has opened his campaign to stand in next year’s City Council elections following his brother’s attempt to win the same seat three years ago.Stafford, a third-year historian at St Benet’s Hall, has accused current Green Party Councillor Matthew Sellwood of failing students living in Hollywell ward, which includes Magdalen, Wadham, Hertford and New colleges.In 2004, Alex’s brother Gregory Stafford, a former Oxford Union Treasurer and student at St Peter’s, also unsuccessfully ran for the same Holywell ward seat against Sellwood. In that election, Gregory came third with 225 votes, over two hundred behind Sellwood’s 443. Alex told OUCA members in a campaigning meeting held at the Town Hall on Wednesday night, “As city councillor for the Hollywell ward I would use the power of students, who have already indicated what they want to change. At the moment they are calling for a number of things, but they need more help, and the current councillors are not giving it to them.”He pointed in particular to councillors’ failure to adequately address environmental issues, and said he would offer greater support to student bodies in making the University more environmentally friendly. The comment follows accusations by Oxford residents that once-fortnightly rubbish collection had led to rat infestations throughout the city.”The focus on green issues within colleges has not really been taken seriously. Students are telling me that they want to reduce the energy uses of colleges, but the current councillors do not seem to be listening,” he said. Cllr Sellwood has responded by defending his record on green issues and accusing Stafford of making unsubstantiated claims.”Mr Stafford couldn’t be more wrong in his allegations. It’s a pity that, rather than making wild accusations and beginning a negative campaign in Michelmas term, he hasn’t spoken to me about the things that the Green Party has accomplished since my election in 2004.”The Green Party has secured over £3m in the City Council budgets of the last three years. This spending has included hundreds of thousands of pounds for renewable energy investment. I have also been deeply involved in the drafting of the groundbreaking ‘Natural Resources Impact Assessment’ planning policy, which has pushed Oxford to the forefront of local authorities on environmental sustainability,” he said. OUSU Environment and Ethics Officer Niel Bowerman defended Sellwood’s record as a Green Party councillor. Citing his involvement with the Green Electricity campaign, which made Oxford University the UK’s fifth largest user of green electricity, he said, “Matt has been key in communication between students and the Council on environmental issues, and personally, I would label accusations of poor communications with students as unfounded.”last_img