Caroline Lucas takes part in fiery Question Time debate

Caroline Lucas and John Rhys Davies on Question Time

Image Credit: BBC Screengrab

This week, Green MP Caroline Lucas was a panellist on Question Time. The show saw a range of topics discussed, including climate change and Brexit. Naturally, Lucas performed well on the former, praising the international school strikes movement and pushing for more government action:

But while Lucas made strong contributions throughout the show, and came out on top of many of the discussions, the programme will likely be most remembered for the extraordinary performance from John Rhys-Davies. The actor, known for his performance in Lord of the Rings as Gimli, and for his extreme right-wing views made a number of much derided interventions in the discussion. One, directed at Lucas was described as ‘aggressive’ and ‘sexist’ by many – including prominent Greens.

Young Greens co-chair Rosie Rawle condemned the “vile” Rhys-Davies:

And Green candidate for the South East in the European elections – Vix Lowthion – praised Lucas’ composure and suggested Rhys-Davies’ contribution was characteristic of behaviour of men throughout society:

https://twitter.com/VixL/status/1121688960500105216

Full slate of Green European election candidates announced

There’s less than a month until European parliamentary elections. Saving some miraculous change of heart from parliament on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, the UK is set to participate in them. And the UK’s Green Parties have now finalised their lists of candidates for them.

In the South East Brighton & Hove councillor Alex Phillips is top of the list. Phillips has been a longstanding Green activist, and stood to be the Green Party of England and Wales deputy leader in 2012. Phillips is joined by Elise Benjamin, a former Lord Mayor of Oxford as well as Vix Lowthion, the party’s General Election candidate in the Isle of Wight in 2015 and 2017. Also on the list are Bernie Sanders’ brother Larry and convener of the Green group on Brighton & Hove council Phelim Mac Cafferty.

In London, Lambeth councillor Scott Ainslie tops the list. He’s joined by Gulnar Hasnain and former deputy leader of the Green Party of England and Wales Shahrar Ali. All three have also been selected to be on the Greens’ list for the London assembly.

Molly Scott Cato is the only sitting Green MEP that is re-standing this time around. She heads up the Green ticket in the South West. She’s also joined by Lord Mayor of Bristol Cleo Lake, along with Lake’s fellow Bristol councillor Carla Denyer.

The most talked about Green candidate is in Yorkshire and Humber. The infamous Lord Mayor of Sheffield Magid Magid is the lead Green candidate there. He’s also joined by Sheffield councillor Alison Teal who has made a name for herself through her role in campaigning against Labour’s tree felling in the city. The twice defeated deputy leader candidate Andrew Cooper joins them on the list as the third candidate.

Both Scotland and Northern Ireland also have prominent figures heading up their campaigns. In Scotland, Maggie Chapman, the Scottish Greens’ co-convener is once again the lead candidate. In Northern Ireland, the rumoured candidacy of Green Party in Northern Ireland leader Clare Bailey was confirmed this week.

Gina Dowding was selected as the North West’s lead candidate a few weeks ago. Last week, Catherine Rowett was chosen to fight the elections in the Eastern region, pipping Rupert Read to the lead candidacy. A 2014 Green Party of England and Wales deputy leader candidate Kat Boettge tops the list in the East Midlands. Ellie Chowns is the lead candidate in the West Midlands. The North East have put Rachel Featherstone at the top of the list. And Wales Green Party leader Anthony Slaughter is the lead candidate in Wales.

There are full lists of candidates for each region in England and Wales, and for Scotland.

Molly Scott Cato slams media approach to the European elections

Molly Scott Cato

Image Credit: Creative Commons: Bristol Green Party

Now that candidates have been selected, not just for Greens but for other parties too, the campaign for the European parliamentary elections has begun in earnest. Unsurprisingly, the level of media coverage for the Greens has come under criticism.

Green MEP Molly Scott Cato has been at the forefront of putting forward this criticism. Specifically, Scott Cato has called out the extensive coverage given to Brexit Party and Change UK candidates in the South West of England. Scott Cato tweeted:

This isn’t the first time Greens have hit out at the level of broadcast coverage of their election campaigning. In 2015, broadcasters threatened to exclude the Greens from their TV debates.  An online campaign then kicked off, including a 280,000 signature strong petition demanding the Greens be invited. Subsequently, Green Parties in the UK experienced a “green surge” with membership figures sky-rocketing, and the Greens shooting up in the polls.

Greens play a key role in new campaign for Scottish independence

Maggie Chapman - Scottish Green Party Co-Convener

Image Credit: Creative Commons: YouTube screen grab

This week Nicola Sturgeon set out the Scottish Government’s position on a second independence referendum, in light of the ongoing Brexit debacle. However, this wasn’t the only major development in the movement for Scottish independence to take place in the last seven days.

A new pro-independence group – Voices for Scotland – was launched. The group is independent of political parties and intends to actively work on converting voters who opted against independence in 2014.

It comprises people from a range of political backgrounds – including Greens. Scottish Green Party co-convener, as well as Bright Green co-founder and openDemocracy UK co-editor Adam Ramsay will both be on its board.

Sian Berry calls out Lib Dem lies on Politics Live

Sian Berry

Image credit: Rosie Rawle

Although largely confined to the depths of #FBPE twitter, much has been made of the failure of pro-remain parties to create an electoral alliance in the run up to the European elections. Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable had previously alleged that Change UK and the Greens had rejected his offer of collaboration.

But appearing on Politics Live Green Party of England and Wales co-leader put to bed the rumours of this offer. Speaking on the show, Berry stated that Vince Cable “did not” approach the Greens for collaboration:

Berry also made clear that not only was an alliance not explored, it was not desirable, explaining that the Greens held little in common with the other remain parties. She also explained that the Greens are the only party entering the 2019 European elections that want to remain in the European, end austerity and take strong action on climate change.

Green local election campaign enters final stages

Local elections are taking place in England and the north of Ireland on May 2. This week, Greens have been entering the final stages of their election campaigns. Local parties are fighting hard for every vote.

In Hove, former Young Green co-chair is pushing to win a seat on the formerly Green run council:

https://twitter.com/hannalytical/status/1122130518617858049

In Reading, the South East Young Greens packed out the streets to campaign to increase the number of Greens on Reading Borough Council:

https://twitter.com/YoungGreenParty/status/1122198968547651584

Green Party of England and Wales deputy leader Amelia Womack is in Sheffield today helping out with the Sheffield Greens’ campaign and motivating volunteers:

And Green Party in Northern Ireland deputy leader Malachai O’Hara has been out campaigning to get elected to Belfast City Council:

Bright Green is running a series of previews of the local elections. We’ve already published previews for the Eastern region and the South East, with the rest of the country soon to follow. On polling day and May 3, we’ll be running a live blog bringing you all the latest news of the local elections and the fate of Green and progressive candidates.

Chris Jarvis

About Chris Jarvis

Chris is a writer and campaigner. He has been active in the student movement for almost a decade - working for two years as an elected Sabbatical Officer at the Union of UEA Students, and for two and a half years at student activist network People & Planet. A Green Party member since 2010, Chris has served on the Executive Committee of both the Young Greens and the Green Party of England and Wales. In 2014, Chris co-founded the progressive online publication The Norwich Radical, and in 2018 joined the writing team of The Canary. Chris is currently a Press and Communications Officer at We Own It.