Former Peterborough Green Party leader resigns from group to become independent

Councillor Julie StevensonCouncillor Julie Stevenson
Councillor Julie Stevenson
Cllr Julie Stevenson secured more votes than any other candidate in the city in last months elections

The former leader of the Green Party in Peterborough has resigned from the group.

Cllr Julie Stevenson – who was known as Cllr Julie Howell before her wedding last month – made the announcement last night.

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At the council elections in May, she secured more votes than any other candidate in the city, and will now be an independent councillor.

‘Pride’ at achievements in local politics so far

She said: “I am very proud of what Peterborough Green Party has achieved over the past six years: I was one of only two Green candidates in the country to retain our deposit at the combined authority mayoral elections in 2017. I was the first Green councillor ever to be elected to Peterborough City Council in 2018. A second Green councillor was elected to the council in 2019, and we formed a ‘Green Group’ on the council, of which I was leader for three years. In 2021, a third Green councillor was elected, and Orton Waterville became the first solely ‘Green’ ward in the city. In 2022, I became the first Green councillor in Peterborough to be re-elected, achieving the highest vote in the city that night.

“All of these achievements were the result of determination, tenacity and hard work, and I thank local Green Party members past and present, our treasured volunteers and the voting public for their constancy and support.

“I joined the Greens in March 2016, having never belonged to any political party before, when a friend who was a Peterborough Green Party member asked me if I would be the Green Party candidate for Orton Waterville ward, with ‘no chance of getting elected’. Little did I know where saying ‘yes’ would lead me, the party and the city.

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“When the party achieved almost 9% of the vote in Orton Waterville, I wondered whether I ought to make a proper attempt to win the seat for the Greens in 2018. At a meeting of Peterborough Greens in July 2016, I committed to dedicating the next 22 months of my life to winning the seat in Orton Waterville. It seemed impossible, but I decided to try. In May 2018, I was elected with 50% of the vote.

“Since that time, I have played a key role in growing the number of Green councillors in Peterborough to three, and have been proud to support my fellow Greens and watch them flourish.

‘No personal interest in party politics’

Cllr Stevenson said she had consulted with residents in her ward before making the decision. She said: “I have always been open about the fact that I take no strong personal interest in party politics. While I have been happy to help the local Green Party to achieve these goals, we have always known that a time would come when it would be right to step back to enable Peterborough Green Party to flourish without me.

"The two remaining Green councillors – Cllr (Nicola) Day and Cllr (Kirsty) Knight - are both thriving, and it is evident that the time has come for me to enable them to step into their own light. I wish them the very best for the future.”