Veteran Southport journalist Martin Hovden writes: The decision earlier this week by The Green Party not to stand in Southport in next month’s general election will haunt them for years to come.

They have thrown away something very important, more important than policies or actions – they risk losing the trust and respect of their supporters and observers.

I’m in the latter category. I’ve followed their progress over the years with great interest. Their campaigns to look after our environment and create a sustainable society are noble aims. Most reasonably-minded people would agree with them.

Now as far as Southport is concerned they want their supporters to abandon all their sincerely held views and to vote tactically to stop the Tories locally and nationally. The party has sold its soul.

And talking of those who ignore the wishes of their voters, look at the Liberal Democrats. They were thrashed nationally in 2015 because their supporters felt so deceived after the disgraceful U-turn on tuition fees and their unseemly desire to travel in ministerial limousines.

Laurence Rankin (pictured), the Green candidate in Southport in 2015 netted just over 1,000 votes. This is predicted by election forecasters Electoral Calculus to drop to 800 next month. Southport has an electorate of more than 67,000.

Trust is so, so important. And people have long memories. It takes years to build up that trust – even longer to regain it.