Activist says past deeds 'sensationalised'

Alex Foulkes. Photo: Supplied
Alex Foulkes. Photo: Supplied
Alex Foulkes, the man challenging Chlöe Swarbrick for the co-leadership of the Green Party, was fined for a breach of the peace in his native Scotland and has been involved in numerous controversies both in the UK and in New Zealand.

Foulkes currently works as a biodiversity lead for the Otago Regional Council.

The former Scottish Labour activist and son of Lord George Foulkes of Cumnock paid the fine and told The New Zealand Herald he had no criminal record in the UK. Lord Foulkes was a Labour MP and a minister in Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Government.

An article from the Sunday Mail from the time of the incident, which occurred at the turn of the millennium, said Foulkes was involved in a dispute at a football match.

It alleged he told the officers who arrested him, “‘You will be in trouble - my father is an MP and my mother is on the police board’.”

Foulkes told the Herald the story had been sensationalised because his father, who was the chairman of Heart of Midlothian Scottish football club, was an MP and said he never made those remarks.

“It didn’t happen, that’s nonsense. I don’t know where they got that from,” he said.

“Because my father was a politician, they sensationalised it and made me out like some kind of hooligan, which was absolute nonsense. It was an absolute tissue of lies and rubbish.”

He described the author of the article as an “idiot”.

“The article is absolute rubbish.”

Foulkes told the Herald he was charged and fined for “a breach of the peace”.

“It was a very minor charge. Probably more minor than being arrested at the demonstration in terms of the the charge that you get if you were activist.

“I think a lot of Green members have probably been arrested at various demonstrations,” he said.

The Sunday Mail also reported that Foulkes had been thrown out of a bar after an argument when he was a student at Edinburgh University. Foulkes told the Herald this was correct.

“I did get thrown out of a bar. I disagreed with someone, but I was on my way out anyway - that was sensationalised,” Foulkes said.

“Someone was abusive to me. I was abusive back,” he said.

Foulkes has also been the subject of controversy in New Zealand.

In 2007, the Herald reported Foulkes was at the centre a political spat within the famous Princes St (Auckland) branch of the Labour Party.

Foulkes, then challenging incumbent David Do for the chairmanship of the branch, claimed to be the subject of a “dirty tricks campaign” when emails emerged accusing him of “drinking and aggression towards branch members and harassing people with early morning phone calls”.

He denied those claims at the time and continues to deny them. Foulkes pulled out of the race for the chairmanship of the branch and joined the Greens.

Green Party rules allow any Green Party member to run for co-leadership, regardless of whether or not they are an MP.

Third-term MP Swarbrick had been the only known candidate to replace co-leader James Shaw, who this month announced he would resign from the co-leadership.

Foulkes, an activist and conservationist, said he would be running but as of Sunday had not submitted his nomination.

Foulkes said he would be running on a radical platform of policies that includes allowing trade unions to affiliate themselves to the Green Party, abolishing the monarchy, and making all essential services free, according to an RNZ profile.