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New Wales Green Party leader Alice Hooker-Stroud brought conference to a standing ovation today as she delivered her first conference address since being elected.

Hooker-Stroud, who took over from Pippa Bartolotti in December, delivered what was described as a ‘vibrant and confident’ speech to the 600-or so attendees of the Green Party of England and Wales Spring Conference in Harrogate.

Speaking in both Welsh and English, the new leader addressed not only conference-goers but voters in Wales too.

“This year, we will get our first Green Assembly Members,” she said.

Hooker-Stroud pointed to the fact that Wales Green Party is now ‘three times the size that it was just a year ago’.

While overall a positive speech, the prospective candidate for Mid and West Wales – the regional list seat that is deemed winnable by the party – attacked Labour’s record in government, arguing the party has become stagnant: “Our current Labour government in Wales has been in power for seventeen years: ever since the Welsh Assembly was first established’.

The Wales Green Party leader said there was a divide between the politics of Wales’ First Minister Carwyn Jones and Jeremy Corbyn: “Welsh Labour – Llafur Cymru – is a different beast to Labour in Westminster.” She went on to say “The Welsh Government makes promises it never fulfils. It publishes glossy reports and lofty legislation, but never delivers.”

The message was strongly focused on new Green AM’s reviving the Assembly: “We will bring new ideas and new energy to a stagnant and tired Assembly”. The Welsh Assembly uses a proportional voting system meaning there is a better chance for Greens to be elected this May.

Hooker-Stroud pointed to the fact that 40% of people are unable to adequately heat their homes, while almost a quarter of households in Wales live in relative poverty. She also slammed the lack of infrastructure in Wales: “Why can’t we get from North to South in Wales by rail without going through England? Why can’t we communicate – not just by mobile, but by decent broadband connection, across Wales?” – as well as calling for an end to austerity and tough action on climate change.

She said Welsh Green AM’s would prioritise affordable and well-insulated housing, green jobs, integrated public transport, and decent public services. “Together, we will build a better, fairer, more democratic Wales. We will build a Wales that works for us all.”

It was a solid opening speech on the first day of conference – and one that marked a dynamic introduction for the new leader to party members outside Wales.

Josiah Mortimer

About Josiah Mortimer

Josiah Mortimer is a Senior Correspondent for Bright Green, writing on Westminster politics and the Green Party of England and Wales. He was Co-Editor of Bright Green between 2014-15, and is now a Contributing Editor for Left Foot Forward.