Green Party promises to be ‘tough on Brexit and tough on the causes of Brexit’ at EU election launch

Party leaders predict ‘best election ever’ following success in local polls earlier this month

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 08 May 2019 08:40
David Lidington confirms UK will hold European elections later this month, as MPs run out of time to agree a Brexit deal

The Green Party promised to be “tough on Brexit” as it launched its European elections campaign following gains in last week’s local polls.

Party leaders predicted the “best election we’ve ever had” and urged voters to say “Yes to Europe, No to climate change”. They vowed to campaign for another referendum on Brexit, which they called “an unforgivable act of intergenerational betrayal”.

The Greens gained 185 seats in the council elections on 3 May amid widespread anger at the main political parties.

The Extinction Rebellion protests in London last month also helped ensure that environmental issues were firmly on the political agenda in the run-up to the polls.

The Green Party is hoping to replicate its success when voters take part in European parliament elections on 23 May.

The party is campaigning on a promise to make the UK carbon neutral by 2030 – 20 years earlier than the government’s target. It is also campaigning for Britain to stay in the EU.

At the party’s launch in north London, Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley promised to be “tough on Brexit and tough on the causes of Brexit”.

He said: “If you thought last week’s local elections were good for the Greens, let me tell you: the Green wave is growing in strength and there is so much more to come. This is our moment and we’re ready for the best election we’ve ever had.”

Promising to demand a referendum on Theresa May’s “fudged” Brexit deal, he added: “Our politics is paralysed and people are ready for something new.”

Caroline Lucas, the Greens’ only MP, called Brexit “an unforgivable act of intergenerational betrayal”.

Claiming that “a Green wave is sweeping the country”, she said: “We’re gathering today with more hope than ever before because in the local elections last week we saw our number of councillors increase by over 270 per cent – a greater percentage than any other party. We won seats all over England, both in existing strongholds like Brighton and Solihull but also in communities that have never had a Green presence before.”

She said recent polls suggest that the party is on course to repeat its local election success by winning more seats in the European parliament.

Climate expert debunks Britain's claim to be world leader on green issues

The party hopes to increase its number of MEPs from the current three.

Mr Bartley had earlier told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the UK staying in the EU would be “a means to an end”, with international cooperation on climate change the biggest priority.

He said his party had “been on the right side of history” on issues including austerity, inequality and global warming.

The Green Party is promising to end fossil fuel subsidies, airport expansion and road-building programmes and instead use subsidies and taxes to boost investment in green energy and transport.

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