A GREEN Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford has announced she is stepping down in a tactical move to try to defeat the Conservatives.

Cheryl Briggs, who was planning to stand for Oxford West and Abingdon at the General Election on June 8, has said she will no longer be contesting the seat.

The decision to stand aside was taken by local party members following a special meeting in the constituency, and was supported overwhelmingly.

The Green Party will now be telling supporters that the main aim is to try and prevent a Conservative victory in Oxford West and Abingdon, and Layla Moran of the Liberal Democrats is the candidate who stands most chance of defeating the Conservative candidate Nicola Blackwood.

Ms Briggs said: "I’m a Green Party member to the core, but we need to be prepared to put the greater good before our own political self-interest here.

"As it is a marginal constituency, the party is prepared to support the progressive party that has the best chance of beating the Conservatives."

The decision follows discussions between senior members of the local Liberal Democrats and the Greens.

Oxfordshire Green Party chairwoman Sarah Wood said: "As things currently stand, the UK is set to be ravaged by five more years of Tory government.

"Yet the fact is that, under our electoral system, the Tories will win many seats, where a majority of the voters in the constituency do not support them. Our political system is broken, and it makes no sense that parties with many common values stand against each other and let the Tories through."

Ms Wood added that the Labour Party in Oxford West and Abingdon should consider withdrawing their candidate as well, to maximise the chances of ousting the Tories.

She said: "Meetings supporting a ‘Progressive Alliance’ in Oxford recently have shown the appetite amongst the wider population for parties to come together in this way. We know standing aside is a major step for parties to take. But given the damage that an unconstrained Conservative government can do, we would hope that they can be brave enough to put the national interest above narrow party politics this time."

Nicola Blackwood, the Conservative candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon said: "This is yet more proof that Jeremy Corbyn and his closest allies are cooking up deals behind closed doors and building a disastrous coalition that will prop him up in Downing Street.

"Whether it says Green or Lib Dem on the ballot, it is Jeremy Corbyn who will get the vote in the end.

"This is a sharp reminder of the choice facing the British people on June 8 between strong and stable leadership with Theresa May or chaos under Jeremy Corbyn."