14 June 2016
* Green councillors almost unanimously concur that only voting remain will deliver a fairer, safer, and greener Britain
A survey of Green Party councillors has found that an overwhelming 98.7% of Green councillors who responded to a poll (1) support a ‘remain’ vote ahead of the EU referendum.
The fresh findings underline how the Green Party is the political party most committed to staying in Europe (2).
Greens operate on the underpinning belief that Europeans flourish when we work together on the shared problems we face. The Green Party’s three MEPs – Jean Lambert, Molly Scott Cato and Keith Taylor – are part of the fifty-strong Greens/EFA group.
Natalie Bennett is in Bristol today campaigning for a vote to remain in the Greens' south-west stronghold. Natalie will be joined by some of the Greens' eleven councillors who wrote an open letter today (3) spelling out why they are all voting remain.
As part of the survey, Green councillors spoke out about their chief reasons for backing ‘remain’. Many stressed that we can only maintain and improve environmental protections and tackle climate change by working together across borders, and the direct benefits of EU membership to their local areas.
Caroline Russell, Highbury East Ward councillor, and recently elected London Assembly member, said:
“Cutting ourselves adrift from the EU makes no sense in a global economy with a world facing the serious threats of climate change and environmental degradation. The prospect of ‘going it alone’ is very scary.”
Denise Craghill, Green councillor for Guildhall Ward, York, said:
"Collaboration at EU level is crucial for helping us tackle climate change - as a councillor with hundreds of ward residents flooded out of their homes on Boxing Day, this is especially important to me. These people are understandably scared of flooding happening again and, as well as better flood defences and land management, they want to see us tackling the underlying cause – climate change. We must have European wide cooperation and a seat at the table to do this effectively.”
Jonathan Chilvers, Green councillor for Leamington Brunswick ward, said:
“For hundreds of years until 1945, European countries were at war with each other. We've had peace for 70 years and the EU has contributed significantly to that. Now, when we have a disagreement with European neighbours, we can go and argue with them with words not weapons. Those negotiating channels have taken decades to build up. Peace is a fragile thing. Why throw that away just because we don't agree with everything in the EU?”
Simon Pickering, Chair of Environment Committee, Stroud Council, said:
“As Chair of the local council Environment Committee, I know that air pollution legislation has helped reduce the incidence of lungs disease in young and old alike. The powerful European wildlife legislation has allowed the council to protect the green spaces between and around our market town.”
David Raby, Green councillor for Town Close, Norwich, said:
“The EU is thus far the most effective instrument for building unity among the peoples of Europe on a basis of peace, democracy and social and environmental justice. While it has many faults, to leave would be to embolden the forces of reaction in this country and across the continent. We have to stay in order to work with others to strengthen democracy and justice.”
Ruthi Brandt, Green councillor for Carfax, Oxford, said:
“Across the EU, voices with a hate-filled agenda are getting stronger. But people advocating solidarity and care for our fellow humans are also making their voices heard. Leaving the EU will strengthen the former. Staying will strengthen the latter.”
1) 75 of the Party’s 161 councillors responded to the poll. Just one respondent indicated their intention not to vote ‘remain’ on 23 June.
2) A members survey ahead of the Green Party’s Spring Conference found that 78% of members consider the UK’s membership of the EU ‘a good thing’ while only 6% think it ‘a bad thing’. https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/record-of-policy-statements.html