Alison Johnstone takes the Green group into First Ministers Questions for first time as leader of the Scottish parliamentary group

Alison Johnstone
Image credit: Creative Commons Edinburgh Green Party

After becoming the Scottish Green Party’s parliamentary group co-leader on March 2, Alison Johnstone led the party through First Minister’s Questions for the first time this week. In her first stint as co-leader, she asked a series of questions to Nicola Sturgeon which called on the Scottish Government to introduce 20 mph speed limits across built up areas in the country. In doing so, she made the case that such a policy would be a public health initiative, comparing it to smoking bans and minimum pricing on alcohol.

Writing for the National, she said on the issue:

I was encouraged by the First Minister’s comments, and hope that she will show the leadership that is now needed. Bold interventions like this, the smoking ban and minimum alcohol pricing are demonstrating that the Scottish Parliament can deliver on the hopes of the people of Scotland. Improving and protecting peoples’ lives whilst Westminster caves into corporate lobbying at every turn.

Massive swing to the Greens in by-election victory

The number of Greens elected to local councils in the UK went up this week, as David Lyons was elected to Aylesbury Vale District Council. Lyons took the seat from the Conservatives with a 36.5 point increase in the Green vote.

Speaking to the Bucks Herald on his priorities now he is a member of the council, Lyons said:

One of the big things I will personally be working on is trying to get the Government to take action about climate change.

The by-election victory will be seen as important in driving momentum behind the Greens in the run up to local elections in England in May.

Jenny Jones presents bill for abolition of the House of Lords

Jenny Jones
Image credit: Creative Commons: Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

Jenny Jones isn’t you’re average peer. And this week she proved that once again by proposing a bill to abolish the House of Lords.

The bill would replace the House of Lords with an elected chamber, with the current appointed Lords being removed from parliament. Jones’ proposals would see a chamber with 292 elected members, voted in through a proportional system.

Writing on the bill, Jones said:

If there is a lesson to learn from Brexit, it is that people are fed up of the status quo in politics and feel that no one represents them. We cannot even begin to heal the divides in Britain while there are unelected people making decisions about the future of our country, some of whom are only in the House because they political position from their fathers.

The bill had its first reading on March 5.

New book celebrates 20 years of Greens in the European Parliament

In the run up to Brexit, the Green Party of England and Wales have marked twenty years since Greens in the UK were first elected to the European Parliament. This anniversary was marked with the publication of a new book highlighting the successes of Green MEPs.

On the publication of the book – Greens for a Better Europe: Twenty Years of UK Green Influence in the European Parliament, 1999-2019 – Caroline Lucas who served as MEP for South East England from 1999 to 2010 said:

I am proud of the contribution that Green MEPs from the UK made to the European Union in our 20 years there. In an increasingly divided political world, we fought for what was right, and we did so while swimming against the tide more often than not.
Greens for a Better Europe highlights what our Party can achieve when the electoral system is not stacked against us, and when we work closely with our European neighbours in pursuit of shared, ambitious, green goals.
And writing in Left Foot Forward, Lucas’ successor as MEP for the South East Keith Taylor said:
Green MEPs have consistently used our positions to push Europe to be better and to hold those in power to account. We may be relatively few in number (we sit in a Greens/EFA group of just over 50 MEPs), but we have proven that just having Greens at the table can change everything.

Amelia Womack kicks off Newport West by-election campaign by calling for Green New Deal

Amelia Womack
Creative Commons: Krystyna Haywood

On April 4, a by-election will take place in Newport West after the death of the Labour MP Paul Flynn. And the Green candidate in the by-election is Green Party of England and Wales deputy leader Amelia Womack.

Campaigning for the by-election is now underway, and Womack kicked off her campaign by calling for the introduction of a ‘Green New Deal’.

Speaking to the South Wales Argus, she said:

Newport has higher unemployment than many places and lots of empty properties.

A Green New Deal in Wales would create thousands of jobs in Newport in exciting industries which are growing around the world.

We have seen 10 years of austerity now which clearly hasn’t worked.

A Green New Deal would create jobs, help people out of poverty and give the Newport economy a massive boost.

Clare Bailey slams Karen Bradley over her comments on the troubles

Clare Bailey
YouTube screen grab

The government’s Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley sparked controversy this week as she claimed that instances of British security forces killing civilians were “not crimes”.

Criticism of Bradley was almost universal. Among those who hit out at her comments was the Green Party in Northern Ireland leader Clare Bailey. Responding to Bradley, she said:

Karen Bradley has shown herself to be disconnected from Northern Ireland affairs and the ongoing legacy of the conflict here – but this comment constitutes a new low for the Secretary of State.

It’s a comment that undermines the Rule of Law and serves to retraumatise people who have lost loved ones at the hands of the security forces. Furthermore, its an insult to those who served in the security forces and adhered to legal standards and rules of engagement during difficult times.

I would call for Karen Bradley to resign as Secretary of State but I’m fairly sure the performance [of] any new Secretary of State appointed by Prime Minster Theresa May would be equally as dismal.

South East Young Greens elect new committee at their AGM

South East Young Greens Committee

The South East Young Greens have elected a new committee at their AGM in Reading. The new committee will be implementing their election strategy where they hope to help get 5 Young Green candidates elected to Brighton & Hove City Council, as well as support Reading Green Party to elect councillors in a new ward.

The new committee are:

  • Co-Chairs: Isabella Moir, Sam Alston
  • Non-portfolio officers: Georgia Saunders, Thomas Hazell, Rosie Rawle, Robert Nixon

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