I won't change my style if I become a Yorkshire MEP, says outspoken former Sheffield Lord Mayor Magid Magid
The outspoken former Lord Mayor of Sheffield has vowed to adopt the same "bold" approach if elected to the "bigger platform" of the European Parliament later this month.
Magid Magid, who stood down as a councillor and Lord Mayor at the recent local elections, is bidding to become an MEP and is the lead candidate in Yorkshire and the Humber for the Green Party.
Buoyed by gaining councillors on Leeds and Sheffield councils, the Greens yesterday launched their European Parliament campaign in Yorkshire with an event at Leeds City Museum.
Mr Magid, who often wore trainers, t-shirts and baseball caps instead of the usual mayoral garb and made international headlines from "banning US President Donald Trump from visiting Sheffield, said it was realistic for the party to gain its first MEP in the region.
Because of the proportional representation system in European elections, Green officials say they need around 120-130,000 votes in Yorkshire to get Mr Magid elected.
He said: "Of course we want to stop Brexit but there is so much in the European elections than just Brexit, we have got climate change which we want to focus on.
"I feel our message is really resonating, we have got a better story to tell. There are a lot of people who are discontented with the major parties and are looking for a real alternative and I think the Green party provides that real alternative."
Asked whether he would continue the same outspoken style if elected to the European Parliament, he said: "I have been able to engage with different sorts of people, especially people who have become disillusioned with politics.
"It will be in a completely different setting, but my approach is being bold in my views, speaking what I think, but also keeping up that same energy and hopefully on a bigger platform. My approach is going to be the same."
Jonathan Bartley, the party's co-leader, predicted an influx of Labour voters to the Green party on May 23 and that the trend would be much more pronounced than in the local elections.
He said: "It's important to make a distinction between what happens in the local elections and what happens in the European elections. A lot of former Labour voters will be voting green in this election, and they certainly won't go to the Lib Dems, because they remember what happened, the Lib Dems teaming up with the Conservative government."
He said the party's campaign would not just focus on Brexit, where they are calling for a second referendum or 'people's vote', but on climate change and issues such as asylum and immigration.
He added: "It is going to be the whole package and that is what makes it distinctive. People know there three pro-remain parties they can choose from but there is only one that has been consistent right the way down the line, hasn't compromised, either with a Conservative government, or with Change UK, they can rebrand, but that doesn't change who the people are. They are the people who got us into this mess in the first place. With the Lib Dems there is still this feeling that they will compromise."