Green Party announces new co-leaders after Caroline Lucas steps down

Jonathan Bartley and Sian Berry want the Greens to become Britain's third biggest political party

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Tuesday 04 September 2018 14:48
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Jonathan Bartley and Sian Berry want to take the Greens 'to the next level'
Jonathan Bartley and Sian Berry want to take the Greens 'to the next level'

Jonathan Bartley and Sian Berry have been elected as new joint leaders of the Green Party.

Mr Bartley will continue in the role while Ms Berry will replace Caroline Lucas, who stepped down earlier this year.

The pair had campaigned on a pledge to establish the Greens as the third biggest party in British politics ahead of the Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party.

They also voiced their support for a public vote on the final Brexit deal and "fiercer Green resistance" to policies such as fracking and HS2.

Mr Bartley is a councillor in the London borough of Lambeth and was elected as party co-leader alongside Ms Lucas in 2016.

Ms Berry has been a London Assembly member since 2016 and came third, behind Labour's Sadiq Khan and Tory Zac Goldsmith, in the London mayoral race that year. She is also a councillor in the London borough of Camden.

The pair received 6,239 out of 8,379 votes cast by members (74 per cent), against 1,466 for Shahrar Ali and 495 for Leslie Rowe.

Amelia Womack was re-elected as the party's deputy leader for a third term, taking 3,981 out of 7,369 votes.

Sian Berry described the Greens as "the opposite of vapid, old school centrist politics".

“With Brexit on the horizon and our planet burning, the last thing people need is the stale centrism of the past, which brought us austerity and privatisation - and totally failed to tackle climate breakdown or give people real security and quality of life," she said.

“We are ready to shout louder than ever before about the bright Green ideas needed to face the huge challenges in the world today.

“We will be championing a People’s Vote on Brexit, tackling climate breakdown, ensuring everyone has the right to a safe warm home, and fulfilling work that translates to more time off with our families, not more unemployment as automation grows.

"We are the only party who can be trusted to stand up for citizens in our nations of England and Wales, instead of the interests of big business or millionaires.”

Mr Bartley said the new co-leaders were determined to take the party "to the next level".

During their campaign they pledged to push for proportional representation in general elections and change how councils are elected in England and Wales.

They have both taken part in direct action and support grassroots campaigns against immigration detention, HS2, airport expansion and fracking.

Mr Bartley said: “We’re proud to lead a party with a track record on the right side of history and are ready to mobilise a fiercer Green resistance than ever before.

“In council chambers across the country Greens are leading a political revolt against the status quo. We want to take the Green Party on a course to become the third political party in Britain, building on this year’s local election success to get a Green on every council in England and Wales.

“But the Green Party knows politics is not confined to council chambers or the halls of Westminster. When faced with the environmental destruction of fracking or the spiralling costs of HS2, or the inhumanity of indefinite detention and forced removals of refugees and migrants, we are not afraid to join protestors putting their bodies on the line for what is right.”

The result was announced three days after the Green Party suspended its former equalities spokeswoman Aimee Challenor after her father, who served as her election agent, was jailed for raping and abusing a child.

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