Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley elected joint Green Party leaders
Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley have today (2 September) been elected as co-leaders of the Green Party after winning the overwhelming support of the party's membership.
The announcement was made at a jubilant Green Party Conference at the University of Birmingham this afternoon, after the pair secured 88% of the 15,467 votes cast.
Following on from Natalie Bennett’s resignation, Lucas and Bartley’s co-leadership represents the first job-share for a Westminster party.
At the core of the pair’s plan is a ‘Green Industrial Strategy’ which they hope will deliver “real security and prosperity” by creating well paid, low-carbon jobs in every part of the country, make Britain a world leader in renewable technologies and give local communities the chance to create their own energy.
In their first speech as elected Party Leaders, Lucas and Bartley said: “Imagine a new plan that will meet our obligations to future generations. A plan that will create jobs in every part of the country. Imagine local communities, empowered to take control of their own energy futures. Imagine Britain as a world leader in renewable technology. Our Green Guarantee means a new industrial revolution that will work for everyone.”
‘Prosperous energy future’
The new co-leaders used their first public speaking opportunity to focus on the outcome of the European Union (EU) referendum. Lucas said that Prime Minister’s mantra that ‘Brexit means Brexit’ is “nothing until we know what the terms of any Brexit deal will be”, and promised that the party would battle to secure Brussels-led protection on the environment and energy.
“We cannot accept a deal that doesn’t offer hope and security to both those who voted to leave and those who voted to remain,” Lucas said. “A year which is now on record as the hottest ever and where half the Arctic Sea ice has disappeared, demands immediate investment in a green and prosperous energy future.”
Before the UK’s Brexit decision, Lucas told edie that a vote to leave the EU would result in energy policies rolling back, demand for environmental experts falling and Britain’s voice on international climate change negotiations being lost.
Lucas’ successful co-leadership election means this will be her second reign as Green Party leader, succeeding Natalie Bennett who stepped down after a four-year stint as leader in August.
Speaking to edie about the environmental implications of Brexit, Bennett lambasted the UK’s recent raft of energy policy changes– from punitive renewable energy subsidy cuts and the abandonment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) funding, through to the axing of key efficiency schemes and the relentless pursuit of a “fracking fantasy”.
The Green Party recently recorded its best-ever performance in the London Mayoral election, where the party are now ranked an undisputed third.