Green Party calls for progressive electoral alliance talks

29 June 2016

*Greens call for cross-party pact to challenge Tories at next election

*Commitment to proportional representation would form a central plank of any negotiations

Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, Steven Agnew, Leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland, Alice Hooker-Stroud, Leader of the Wales Green Party and Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, have written an open letter (1) to other parties exploring the possibility of forming a progressive electoral alliance ahead of any potential ‘snap’ election later this year.

Writing to Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Farron, and Leanne Wood, leading Greens Bennett, Agnew, Hooker-Stroud and Lucas said:

“In a spirit of openness and transparency, we are writing to you as leaders of parties which oppose Brexit, to invite you to a cross-party meeting to explore how we best rise to the challenge posed by last week’s vote to Leave the EU.  

“We have a UK Government in chaos, an economy facing a crisis and people up and down the country facing serious hardship. There is an urgent need to make a stand against any austerity and the slashing of environmental legislation, human and workers’ rights, that may come with Brexit. 

“With the growing likelihood of an early General Election, the importance of progressive parties working together to prevent the formation of a Tory-UKIP-DUP government that would seek to enact an ultra-right Brexit scenario is ever more pressing.

“This is an opportunity to recognise that a more plural politics is in the Left’s electoral and political interests.”

In the EU referendum, 75% of those who voted Green in the 2015 General Election voted to 'remain' (2). Since the result was announced, the Green Party has experienced a membership surge, with up to 50 people joining per hour. 

Natalie Bennett added:

“We’re urging progressive parties to work together to beat the Tories at the next election – and to give us the best possible chance of a progressive outcome from the mess we are currently in. Central to such a progressive alliance would be a commitment to proportional elections for the House of Commons and an elected second chamber. An election should be held this Autumn (3) to give the country a chance to have their say on which team they want at the negotiating table.”

“Any such alliance would, of course, have to be discussed with our members and represent their views and concerns.”

Ends

Notes

1) Full text of letter:

Open letter to: Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Farron, Leanne Wood on behalf of Green Party of England and Wales,

In a spirit of openness and transparency, we are writing to you as Leaders of parties which oppose Brexit, to invite you to a cross-party meeting to explore how we best rise to the challenge posed by last week’s vote to Leave the EU.  

Britain is in crisis and people are scared about the future. Never have we had a greater need for calm leadership to be shown by politicians.  

We have a UK Government in chaos, an economy facing a crisis and people up and down the country facing serious hardship. There is an urgent need to make a stand against any austerity and the slashing of environmental legislation, human and workers’ rights, that may come with Brexit. 

With the growing likelihood of an early General Election, the importance of progressive parties working together to prevent the formation of a Tory-UKIP-DUP government that would seek to enact an ultra-right Brexit scenario is ever more pressing.

This is an opportunity to recognise that a more plural politics is in both the Left’s electoral and political interests. This crisis exposes the absurdity of our first past the post electoral system.  Just 24 per cent of those eligible to vote elected the government that called the referendum. The only fair way to proceed is to have a proportional voting system where people can back the politicians who they believe in, rather than taking a gamble and not knowing who they will end up with.  

The idea of a progressive alliance has been floated for several years, and proposals have once again been put forward in the context of the current crisis. We believe that the time has come to urgently consider such ideas together in the context of a Westminster Government. We recognise the very different political situation in Scotland, given the strongly pro-EU majority there. We hope that co-operation between progressive parties there can ensure that this mandate is respected, and we will support them to keep all options open.

We look forward to your response,

Natalie Bennett, Leader of The Green Party of England and Wales

Steven Agnew MLA, Leader of the Green Party of Northern Ireland

Alice Hooker-Stroud, Leader of Wales Green Party

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion

2) http://lordashcroftpolls.com/2016/06/how-the-united-kingdom-voted-and-why/?utm_source=Lord+Ashcroft+Polls&utm_campaign=80ea4229e4-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b70c7aec0a-80ea4229e4-55537957

3) http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/natalie-bennett/eu-referendum-result-general-election_b_10701414.html






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