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)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
business
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Sport
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Systems Analyst - London - £40,000 plus benefits

£35000 - £40000 per annum + substantial benefits: Ashdown Group: Business Syst...

Campaign Manager

£40000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Campaign Man...

JQuery Developer (JQuery, C#, front-end, JQuery, UI, Tomcat)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organ...

Senior Sales Supervisor

£75000 - £100000 per annum + bonus, bens: Progressive Recruitment: Sales Super...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil