Page 3 Profile: Natalie Bennett, Politician


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The Independent Online

A jacket that screams "politician"

Quite right! Natalie Bennett has just been elected leader of the Green Party, following the resignation of Caroline Lucas – currently the Party's only MP. Bennett is a former journalist and United Nations adviser, so while she isn't a complete outsider, she draws from a more diverse portfolio of interests than your average politician. The Australian-born Green also distinguishes herself by being "the only party leader that knows how to shear a sheep".

Who did she beat?

The fancied Liverpool Green Peter Cranie came second, while Jaguar-driving Pippa Bartolotti came last. Dudley councillor Will Duckworth was elected as Ms Bennett's deputy in a separate vote. All 13,000 Green members were balloted, but turnout was low at just over 25 per cent.

What is she proposing?

"A radical vision of a new kind of British economy," and an end to the "disastrous, economically illiterate cuts" imposed by the Coalition Government. In terms of environmental policy, Bennett was keen to suggest practical ways in which the environment affects our daily lives. "The environment is not just something that is out there, involving whales, pandas and cuddly creatures," she said. "It is right here and right now: food price rises for the UK's poorest and gas bills going up." You sense she grasps the fact that while most Britons do sympathise with environmental concerns, they're not too keen on separating their litter into twelve separate receptacles.

And what about the Green Belt?

"Essential," though her views on Heathrow's potential expansion were less mainstream. Instead of taking flights to the continent, we should use trains, she said.