Green party

Caroline Lucas and Keith Taylor continue in party's top post

4 November 2004

On Friday the Green Party will formally announce the results of its electionfor Principal Speakers.

The Principal Speakers are the party's figureheads, who fulfil the publicand media role undertaken by the leaders of more conventional parties.

Dr Caroline Lucas, Green MEP for South East England, was returnedunchallenged, her overwhelming vote constituting a resounding endorsement(1). Dr Lucas was re-elected as a Euro-MP this year with an increased shareof the vote, consolidating the English Greens' place in the EuropeanParliament.

And Cllr Keith Taylor, a Brighton & Hove city councillor, defeated achallenge from Yorkshireman John Phillips (2). Cllr Taylor is convenor(leader) of one of Britain's strongest local authority Green Party groups,and holds the record for the highest ever Green Party vote in a generalelection, with almost 10% in Brighton Pavilion in 2001.

A party spokesperson said today: "Keith and Caroline make a very strongteam. Either of them would be a better prime minister than Tony Blair inevery sense.

"They both have the ability to get the party's policies across to the publicin down-to-earth terms and without resorting to the sort of spin we get fromLabour and the LibDems or the dumbed-down messages we hear from the Tories."

Caroline Lucas was recently voted one of Britain's three best-known MEPs -an amazing achievement for a politician from a relatively small party - andwas also hailed by a European pressure group as Britain's most reform-mindedMEP. She has been Principal Speaker for the last year.

Keith Taylor was first appointed Principal Speaker this year on the tragicdeath, aged 38, of Cllr Dr Mike Woodin, an Oxford don and one of the GreenParty's first ever city councillors in England. Dr Woodin had been PrincipalSpeaker for most of the previous eight years. Keith Taylor's Brighton Greenshad become rivals of Mike Woodin's Oxford Greens in the race to increasetheir party's vote-share - and both gained 20% of the vote for the Greens inthis year's Euro-elections, the highest city-wide Green votes in thecountry.

An announcement will be made soon concerning the elections to the rest ofthe party's national leadership team.

Notes

1. In Green Party elections there is always an option to vote RON - re-opennominations - which allows the members to express concern if there is onlyone candidate. If RON wins, the election will be re-run until there is aclear expression of support for the candidate. (RON has never won, but theGreens regard the rule as an important safeguard.) Caroline Lucas polled farmore than 99% of the votes cast.

2. Keith Taylor polled 56% of the vote to John Phillips' 42%. John Phillipshails from Kirklees in Yorkshire, where the Greens won their first evermetropolitan borough council seat and now have three councillors. Yorkshirewas until recently the region with the largest number of Green councillors,having groups on Bradford, Kirklees, Leeds and York councils and havingbroken through onto Sheffield city council this year. The South Eastreclaimed the acendancy in October this year, when Cllr Sushila Dhallsuccessfully held Mike Woodin's former seat on Oxford city council.