Parkin quits Green Party leadership: Resignation letter condemns 'endless redundant skirmishes' between die-hard faction and reformers

SARA PARKIN, a leading member of the Green Party and widely regarded as one of its greatest electoral assets, has announced that she will not stand again for the post of chair of the party's executive because she is fed-up with infighting.

'With so many opportunities to make a strong green voice heard outside the Green Party, I see no point in squandering my time, energy and spirit fighting endless redundant skirmishes behind the Green Party barricades,' she wrote in a resignation letter.

Her decision to withdraw her candidacy comes when the balloting for the next chair is already underway.

A year ago the membership voted for several reforms - known as Green 2000 - intended to streamline decision-making and give the party a clearer image and a more coherent voice during the general election. It was decided to have just two principal speakers - there had been 32 national speakers, an 11-strong executive and a chair.

Ms Parkin and others had been campaigning for such reforms for years, facing strong resistance from die-hard Greens who felt the soul and spirit of the party demanded that it be a highly devolved, grass roots organisation.

When the breakthrough for the reformers came last autumn a slate of Green 2000 candidates was elected to the key posts and the executive, including Ms Parkin.

But the changes reaped no electoral rewards. Although the Greens fielded more parliamentary candidates than ever before they got only 1.3 per cent of the votes on 9 April. They were firmly back in the electoral wilderness after their high point in 1989, when they received 15 per cent of the votes - more than two million - at the European parliamentary elections.

The party has grave financial problems and its image has not been helped by the strange developments in the life of one its best known figures, the former BBC sports presenter and ex-Coventry goalkeeper David Icke. In 1991 he announced that he had become the 'Son of Man' and 'an aspect of the Godhead'. He foretold that the earth was doomed to destruction in 1997 unless people underwent profound spiritual change which would allow the reign of God to begin with the new millennium.

The party also lost support as its mainstream rivals developed 'greener' agendas.

Since the general election Mallen Baker, a former co-chair of the party, has been campaigning with other activists for Ms Parkin's removal. Last night he hailed her announcement as a victory.

He said she was one of a small group of party leaders who had refused to work with activists, and had proved to be 'politically incompetent' and 'ineffectual'. 'Sara has shown herself to be completely unprepared to work with anyone who disagreed with her . . . her constant destructive behaviour has been doing the party real harm. Just because she is one of our best known faces and looks good on television does not mean she can be allowed to run the party badly,' Mr Mallen said. He is a candidate for the post of principal speaker in the current party elections.

Speaking from her home on the Scottish island of Isla, Ms Parkin said Mr Baker's choice of language showed what she was up against. 'I seem to spend all my time wrapped up in disputes with activists who are opposing the reforms and the new approach which the membership want.'

She said several other members of the executive were not standing for re-relection because of the infighting. Her letter withdrawing from the ballot read: 'I have been forced to the conclusion that the Green Party is a liability to green politics . . . There is a small but determined minority within the party able to completely negate the objective and spirit of those organisational changes.' Ms Parkin said she would remain a party member - she has belonged for 15 years. Aged 46 and with two sons, she said she now had many other things to do to promote the Green cause. Her lecture audiences include middle-ranking NATO officers.

Peter Barnett, the party's press officer said: 'We are obviously disappointed. We regard Sara as our greatest asset. We hope she will return as an active member.'

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk