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The race is in full swing for who will be the next leader (or leaders) of the Green Party of England and Wales. But since you probably don’t know everything about all the candidates, we’ve given you our definitive primer on the vote. The ballot papers will be sent out on 25 July.

As part of Bright Green’s coverage of the election, we’ve asked all of the candidates seven questions – quizzing them on their response to Brexit and the Labour crisis, their experience and skills, and more. 

This is the first Q&A of the leadership election, and sheds some light on less-covered candidates as well as the more well-known ones. They had a maximum of 350 words to answer the seven questions, and they all did very well sticking to my strict wordcount!

I hope this is useful – there’s some very interesting stuff in there.

I’ve put the responses in reverse alphabetical order (by surname), as most coverage of the election so far has used standard alphabetical order, which – when used persistently – gives an advantage to the candidates with ‘earlier’ surnames.

All candidates except Martin/Martie Warin responded, but this was partly due to difficulty getting in touch/finding contact details etc. I did chase him on Twitter and email but if I hear back we’ll be posting something about/from him in due course I’m sure.

Anyway, happy reading, and happy voting. Watch this space for more on the contest. Josiah

David WilliamsDavid Williams

  1. Why are you running?

I want to stimulate a debate about the direction of the party and to ensure all candidates are exposed to proper scrutiny. Also, I think I have the experience and the ability to do the job well.

  1. What experience do you have that makes you right to lead the party?

I have 30 years’ experience as a local councillor and elected official; I am the former group leader of the Greens on Oxford City Council and am now the group leader on Oxfordshire County Council. I am a respected orator; have long-term experience with the media on TV, radio and in print; have good political judgement; and can inspire local membership.

  1. What are your top priorities for the party if elected?

Fighting public service cuts; trying to stop Trident renewal; trying to stop corporate dominance and the political influence of the ‘1%’; ensuring that policies to tackle climate change are not side-lined.

  1. How do you see the Greens relating to the Labour Party and the wider left?

Cooperative work on social justice issues, and seeking a more active role in green issues by other left groups. We should look very carefully at the detail of any proposed electoral alliance and its implications for the Green Party and green policies.

  1. How should the party respond to Brexit? What, if anything, should we be calling for now?

By calling for a referendum on any final withdrawal agreement. If the agreement involves joining the European Economic Area (EEA), we should campaign to re-join the EU at the earliest opportunity.

  1. What separates you from the other candidates?

Firstly, my belief in tackling the issues that are relevant to people, in particular those in working class communities and the parts of the country outside London and the south-east. Secondly, my experience of holding public office and my active role in real, practical politics

  1. Any final thoughts or comments // Closing statement

The Greens have a great potential with the current volatility in the electorate. The important thing is we seek to present a green, left of centre vision of social justice and sustainability, and aim to capture public support with it.

David Malonedavid malone

  1. Why are you running?

If we do not have effective democratic control over taxing corporations, regulating banks and controlling our own money supply then we will not be able to deliver on any of our other promises. If the TTIP is signed we will have even less control.

  1. What experience do you have that makes you right to lead the party?

Since 2007 I have written a book about the financial crash and write one of the country’s more respected financial blogs.  I have spoken up and down the country on the financial crash and the danger to democracy the trade deals present.

  1. What are your top priorities for the party if elected?

If we wish to be electable then people must stop thinking we are nice people who save whales. They must think, the GP is the party that understands what is rotten in our economic and financial system, knows how to fix it.

  1. How do you see the Greens relating to the Labour Party and the wider left?

A Labour party under Corbyn, we should reach out and cooperate with.  Under a Blairite ‘centre ground’ leader it’s a waste of space and should be fought. I have no more time for Tory-lite apologists.

  1. How should the party respond to Brexit? What, if anything, should we be calling for now?

I campaigned for Remain. BUT, I am opposed to having the vote re-run or set aside. Why?  Imagine an election where Corbyn or a radical green party wins by 52% to 48%. 150 000 outraged Tories march through London. The right wing press cry that the people didn’t really understand. They were made promises the winner will not be able to keep.  What argument will you have to say their demand is un-democratic and wrong?  We cannot pick and choose which democratic decisions we will honour and which we won’t.

  1. What separates you from the other candidates?

I don’t live in the South East. I live in the North. I have a science degree. In my job, making Science documentaries, I talk to scientists all the time. From my writing I talk to bankers and financial people all the time. I understand the good contributions both make and how they are also both used to lie and control.

  1. Any final thoughts or comments // Closing statement

The battle of our time is for democracy itself. It’s a battle that we here, now, have to win.

Clive LordClive Lord

  1. Why are you running?

To bring the Party back to its original raison d’être – stop ecological destruction.

  1. What experience do you have that makes you right to lead the party?

I joined in 1973. I was national secretary 1973-1980. Active throughout, I have considerable campaign experience. I have stood in numerous local, parliamentary and Euro elections.

  1. What are your top priorities for the party if elected?

Recruit the 2.3million who voted Green in the 1989 Euros – twice the 2015 tally. Mostly subsequently Lib Dems, but almost all in Tory heartlands. This government’s ‘Green’ record should help.

  1. How do you see the Greens relating to the Labour Party and the wider left?

Without doing what I propose above, the Progressive Alliance is problematic. Detailed figures on the progressive alliance are not encouraging. It makes sense for Labour to try to destroy us – and they have a track record of reneging on promises – because we only take votes from them. Look at Brighton, Norwich, Bristol and Oxford.

  1. How should the party respond to Brexit? What, if anything, should we be calling for now?

Reasons for a Brexit re-match: 1. We didn’t know it will break up the UK. 2. If anyone should have had a master plan, it is Farage. A vote on the detailed terms before triggering Article 50 seems obvious. In the meantime, we need to tell the places which voted ‘Leave’ that their plight is due to this government, not Europe, and that the Australian ‘points’ system would not have the  promised effect here. See also answer seven below.

  1. What separates you from the other candidates?

‘Lower growth’ without specific proposals (mine is the Citizens’ Basic Income) is a platitude.

  1. Any final thoughts or comments // Closing statement

I told the founder members that they had just formed a socialist party. It would have to be drastically redistributive if the recession (as enemies will call it) we agreed was necessary to stop destruction of the ecosphere was to be thinkable for whole populations.

The market should never have invaded health or education, but the Basic Income allows market forces to make sense in other areas. Think Tory clap-trap on Zero hours contracts with benefit sanctions, and then with a BI.

Our message to the Poor: We can get the DWP and sanctions off your backs.

To the rich: It will cost you, but we can save the Planet for future generations.

Migration? Help people to stay where they live (international Basic income).

See my blog www.clivelord.wordpress.com for more.

Simon Ashley CrossSimon Cross

  1. Why are you running?

I am running because I believe the grass roots of the party should be represented. My view is that people from the party must have a voice in every internal election. I wish to serve the party and build on the exceptional growth so ably driven by Natalie and Caroline over the last several years.

  1. What experience do you have that makes you right to lead the party?

I have supported the party for 30 years and have stood at every level of local and national government for the last 5. I live in the tough Tory stronghold of Southend and am the first Green candidate to save a deposit in this area. I come from Sheffield and therefore have experience of the diversity of the political landscape.

  1. What are your top priorities for the party if elected?

We must develop a strong leadership team and draw expertise from across diversity groups to ensure wider groups stand in future. It is imperative to fight for the strong Green lines of environmental and social justice, against Trident and poverty and support our NHS and schools. Finally, it is imperative that we develop people and raise funding and profile.

  1. How do you see the Greens relating to the Labour Party and the wider left?

I would welcome further discussion on a binding coalition of the centre and left but it must never be at the expense of our name, position or Green line policy. I feel that we are best equipped to broker this but it must only be after consultation with the whole membership.

  1. How should the party respond to Brexit? What, if anything, should we be calling for now?

Our response must be unequivocally to move forwards towards the best deal we can secure. The country used the referendum to demand the ear of their politicians and we must respond to that whilst fighting for environmental, social and workers protections.

  1. What separates you from the other candidates?

I am straight talking and a listener. I value every opinion and believe that the party has always been right. I believe we have to develop diversity and this will in turn increase our membership, scope and funding.

  1. Any final thoughts or comments // Closing statement

I have the will and presence to take the Green Party to a new level and audience. I am organised and a supporter of diversity in every form. I believe these qualities can help us build a Party and membership which will win.

Jon Bartley and Caroline Lucas Barley Lucas 2

  1. Why are you running?

This is a watershed moment. A broken system has given Britain a hunger for something different. We believe we’re the team to fan the flames and ensure the Green Party seizes the new opportunities.

  1. What experience do you have that makes you right to lead the party?

Since 2010 Caroline’s been our leading voice in Parliament; blazing a Green trail in national media and working with MPs across the spectrum to demonstrate truly progressive cross-party cooperation.

Jonathan has been Work & Pensions spokesperson; successfully taking on Iain Duncan Smith in live election debates. A seasoned campaigner, he played a key role in the last two London Mayoral elections, and has transformed Lambeth Green Party; electing one of London’s four Green councillors in 2014 and creating a 29% swing from Labour to Greens in a recent by-election.

  1. What are your top priorities for the party if elected?

1. Working towards political transformation: building power, sharing power, including electoral reform

2. Strong communication of a distinct Green vision

3. Winning elections as a party that is diverse and inclusive, including establishing an Equalities Commission

    4. How do you see the Greens relating to the Labour Party and the wider left?

Corbyn or not – Greens are different to Labour. On climate, the economy, and especially in the way we do politics, we’re working for something new. So where there are shared values and causes like electoral reform, let’s work together for the change we want.

  1. How should the party respond to Brexit? What, if anything, should we be calling for now?

We were gutted by the referendum result, but let’s also acknowledge it gave a voice to communities who had been voiceless – and they screamed discontent.

  1. Urgent safeguarding of key environmental protections and workers’ rights.
  2. Parliamentary vote on ‘terms of exit’ before invoking Article 50.
  3. A second referendum on terms of a final deal.
  4. An emergency law guaranteeing rights of non-British nationals

6. What separates you from the other candidates?

There’s two of us. We’re modelling and striving for politics that’s open and accessible. Ours is a clear message: the system is failing, it’s time for something new.

  1. Any final thoughts or comments // Closing statement

We need another leap forward to get to where we need to be – the world can’t wait. We believe we are the team to build on the great work done by the current leadership, staff, local parties and members to take us to the next Green Surge and beyond.

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.