2 September 2016
- New Green leaders pledge to put forward policies which redistribute power and wealth
- Co-leadership is a first in Westminster Politics
- Greens promise ‘big ideas’ in an ‘age of insecurity’.
- Bartley and Lucas to push for one off progressive pact with other parties
- Full speech (please check against delivery) available here: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2016/09/02/jonathan-bartley-and-caroline-lucas-first-speech-to-conference/
The Green Party of England and Wales has elected Jonathan Bartley and Caroline Lucas as its new co-leaders. The pair - who won the overwhelming support of the party’s membership – have today promised policies that enable people to ‘take control’ of their lives.
In their first speech to the Green Party Conference, delivered today at the University of Birmingham, Bartley and Lucas said that their party is uniquely poised to bring forward proposals to tackle the ‘age of insecurity’ plaguing Britain. At the core of their plan is a ‘Green Industrial Strategy’ which, they say, would deliver ‘real security and prosperity’ by creating well paid, low carbon jobs in every part of the country, make Britain a world leader in renewable technologies and give local communities the chance to create their own energy. They also pledged to take forward work on a ‘Basic Income’ which provides everyone with a decent standard of living and helps protect against the ill effects of short term contracts, low pay and job insecurity.
In the speech, they said:
“Imagine a new plan that will meet our obligations to future generations. A plan that will create jobs in every part of the country. Imagine local communities, empowered to take control of their own energy futures. Imagine Britain as a world leader in renewable technology. Our Green Guarantee means a new industrial revolution that will work for everyone.”
Bartley and Lucas’ co-leadership of the Green Party is a first for a Westminster party.
In their speech they reinforced the Green Party’s position following the European Referendum by calling for a second referendum on the terms of exit, and proper parliamentary scrutiny of the process.
Bartley and Lucas also gave a ‘cast iron pledge to put people in control’ by rejuvenating British democracy. At the core of such a proposal is a commitment to a fair voting system for the House of Commons and a pledge for constitutional reform. They also laid out their blueprint for a new political settlement built on progressive alliances to beat the Conservatives at the next election through a form of pact with proportional representation at its core.
“Every vote needs to count. So we are resolute in wanting to explore the potential for progressive alliances with other parties that will deliver fair votes.
“We are the Party of ideas and this is a big one. So we need to have a proper conversation, starting here at conference and continuing in our local parties, in our communities.”
Amelia Womack was announced as Deputy Leader. Amelia was first elected in 2014 and at 31 is the youngest Deputy Leader of any UK political party.
Amelia led strongly in the Greens’ European Referendum campaign and set up Greens for a Better Europe. She has championed social and environmental rights across the UK visiting hundreds of local parties.
"I am thrilled and honoured to be re-elected as Deputy Leader to continue my work for the party. I look forward to working in such a formidable leadership team, and with such strong support from our membership I know that we can take the party forward.”
Next week Bartley and Lucas, as well as Amelia, will make a statement setting out plans for their first weeks as the leadership team. Proposals will include an ‘Equalities Commission’ to ensure the Green Party better represents marginalized communities, and launching a conversation within the party on progressive alliances.
1] Election numbers:
Electorate: 43, 087
Lucas and Bartley: 13,570
Simon Ashley Cross: 108
Clive Lord: 173
David Malone: 956
Martie George Warin: 133
David Williams: 527
2] Biographies of Caroline and Jonathan:
Jonathan and Caroline first worked together as campaigners against the closure of the Independent Living Fund and soon discovered they had a joint vision for the Green party and for Britain and its place in the world.
Jonathan joined the Green Party member in 2010, shortly after encountering then Conservative Party leader David Cameron. Bartley was waiting to attend a hospital appointment at the Evelina Children's Hospital with his son Samuel and challenged the future Prime Minister about the Conservative Party’s manifesto pledges, arguing they’d increase the segregation of disabled children. David Cameron’s denial was later shown to be wrong by Channel 4 FactCheck.
In 2015 Jonathan was the General Election candidate for Streatham, increasing the Green vote locally fivefold. A dedicated local activist, he also played a pivotal role in getting the first green councillor elected in Streatham from a starting point of 4th place. As the Party’s Work and Pension’s Spokesperson, he has made numerous media appearances and took on Iain Duncan Smith to expose the suicides of benefit claimants.
A descendant of Irish farmers on one side and Quaker prison reformer Elizabeth Fry on the other, Jonathan has a passion for social justice and studied Social Policy at London School of Economics. He worked in Parliament on a cross-party basis from 1994-1998 and used that experience in his roles as vice chair of the electoral reform society and vice chair of Yes to Fairer Votes campaign during the 2011 referendum.
He has also served as chair of Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education and helped establish the Accord Coalition with British Humanist Association and teaching unions to reform faith schools. In 2000 Jonathan set up an online charity that has since raised over £1 million for work in the global South.
Married to Lucy and a proud Dad of three children, Jonathan spends whatever free time he has gigging with his band, the Mustangs, and was nominated for Blues Drummer of the Year Award in 2010.
Caroline joined the Green Party in 1986 and has held many positions including National Press Officer (1987-89) and Co-Chair (1989-90). She won the party’s second County Council seat in 1993 and served on Oxfordshire County Council until 1997. She served two terms as the Party’s elected Principal Speaker and in 2008 was elected Party Leader. From 1999-2010 she was a Member of the European Parliament, standing down when she was elected as the Green’s first MP, representing Brighton Pavilion.
Caroline was voted the UK's most ethical politician in 2007, 2009 and 2010 by readers of the Observer, and in 2008 was judged one of the Guardian’s top “eco-heroes.” She received Red magazine's Woman of the Year Award 2010 in the ethical/eco category and is in the Environment Agency's Top 100 Eco-Heroes of all time. She was named the 'Most Influential MP' in 2012 by the Political Studies Association, 'MP of the Year' in the Scottish Widows and Dods Women in Public Life Awards 2011, and 'Newcomer of the Year' in the Spectator's 2010 Parliamentarian awards. In 2015 the Patchwork Foundation named Caroline MP of the 2010-15 parliamentary session for her work with deprived and minority communities in Brighton and across the country. She was also the Pink News MP of the Year in 2014.
Born in Malvern in Worcestershire, Caroline studied English Literature at the University of Exeter and has authored a number of books, including most recently Honourable Friends? Parliament and the Fight for Change. A passionate campaigner and activist, who was arrested in 2013 for opposing fracking, she loves nothing more than walking on the Sussex Downs with her husband, Richard, two sons and their chocolate Labrador Harry.