Greens call for Boris Johnson’s resignation – UK Green news round up week 39
Greens call for Boris Johnson’s resignation after court ruling
This week, the Supreme Court ruled that Boris Johnson’s prorogation of parliament was unlawful. As such, parliament immediately reconvened in Wednesday.
Prominent Greens were quick to respond to the Supreme Court ruling. And many of them called for Johnson to resign.
Green MEP for the East of England Catherine Rowett said:
It has been another tumultuous week in British politics. We have seen the Supreme Court unanimously find that the government acted illegally to undermine our democracy. This alone showed that Boris Johnson is unfit to hold the office of Prime Minister. However, upon returning to Parliament, rather than acting with humility, he instead behaved disgracefully, using rhetoric that incites hatred and sows division in our communities. He should resign immediately.
Rowett’s comments followed a joint statement from the UK’s Green MEPs which also called for Johnson to resign:
Boris Johnson’s attempt to shut down the UK Parliament to prevent democratic scrutiny of his Brexit plans has been found to be unlawful. The rule of law is one of the fundamental values of the European Union and its member states. No one is above the law and we are glad to see that the Supreme Court has shown that again today. This attempt to undermine our democracy shows that Boris Johnson is unfit to hold the office of Prime Minister and he should resign immediately.
The Scottish Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie joined the calls for Johnson to resign as well. He condemned Johnson’s “reckless actions”:
In light of the clear judgement of the supreme court that the decision to prorogue parliament was unlawful, void and of no effect it’s clear that the Prime Minister and his Cabinet must resign immediately. Their reckless actions demonstrated complete contempt for parliamentary democracy. Parliament must be recalled at once in order to hold this out of control regime to account.
And Green Party in Northern Ireland leader Clare Bailey hit out at Boris Johnson, describing him as ‘dishonest’:
The Prime Minister’s capacity for dishonesty and deceit has been demonstrated across his career.
Greens select new member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
Two weeks ago, former Green Party in Northern Ireland leader Steven Agnew resigned his seat in the Northern Ireland Assembly and took up a new role in the renewables industry. This week, the Greens selected his replacement.
Rachel Woods has been selected to take up Agnew’s old seat. Woods is currently a councillor on Ards and North Downs Council, and will join Clare Bailey as the party’s second MLA. With Woods entering the Assembly, the Greens are now the only party to have an all woman Assembly team.
Speaking on the announcement, Woods said:
I am delighted to have been selected to serve the people of North Down as their MLA alongside Green Party NI Leader Clare Bailey.
I grew up in Holywood and I still live in the town. I am passionate about North Down and am determined to serve all the people of the area as best I can.
There are serious challenges ahead – not least climate breakdown, Brexit and lack of funding for our public services.
I am determined to face up these challenges and make positive change across our communities.
Green Party of England and Wales membership hits 50,000
Good news for Greens this week, as the Green Party of England and Wales has experienced its latest membership surge. This week, it was announced that the party membership had reached 50,000. This is the highest the membership has been since the “Green Surge” in 2015, and comes off the back of continued growth that has taken place since the local elections in May.
Announcing the membership figures, party co-leader Jonathan Bartley described this as “truly amazing”:
We’ve just reached 50,000 members! 🥳
Our amazing members are the lifeblood of our party, a massive thank you to every single one of you 🥰 pic.twitter.com/bmSd1Wvdwl
— The Green Party (@TheGreenParty) September 25, 2019
Scottish Greens refused to support the Scottish Government’s Climate Bill
This week, the Scottish Parliament passed its Climate Bill. The Bill was proposed by the SNP, and was backed by the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats. It contained commitments for Scotland to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2045 as well as for a 75% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.
But the Scottish Green Party’s parliamentary group refused to support the Bill. All six of the party’s MSPs abstained on the Bill, with their amendment calling for an 80% reduction by 2030 having been rejected.
After the vote, Scottish Green Party climate spokesperson Mark Ruskell hit out at the legislation, describing it as “progress at a snail’s pace”:
This bill represents progress, but it is progress at a snail’s pace, and as one climate striker last week put it: ‘It’s no good being the fastest snail’ in the face of a global crisis.
The lack of ambition on the ten-year timescale demanded by climate science, for example, ignores the demands of the tens of thousands who took to the streets last week.
I hope to secure commitments on warm homes and a citizens assembly, as well as some important new requirements on reporting and recording emissions, but let’s not pretend this bill is anywhere near meaningful action to address the climate emergency.
Bristol Greens launch General Election campaign
With a General Election on the horizon, local Green Parties are gearing up to fight for parliamentary seats. This week, Bristol Green Party launched their campaign for the Bristol West constituency. Bristol West has long been a key target for the party, with the Greens coming a strong second in 2015. It is one of a handful of seats where the Greens could potentially pick up a second parliamentary seat.
On the launch, Green candidate Carla Denyer said:
I will be pushing for a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal, and will campaign hard for the UK to remain in the EU. I will lead on real action to tackle the Climate Emergency, and I will not rest until we have reversed austerity – properly, not the misleading ‘austerity is over’ sham the Tories are trying to sell us.
The Conservatives have let us down in every conceivable area of public life and the sooner they are out of government the better.
Labour politicians continue to claim they understand the climate emergency issue while backing airport expansion, investing employee pensions in fossil fuels, and inviting BP and Heathrow airport to speak at their party conference. Labour clearly don’t get it.
Green member of the House of Lords Natalie Bennett, who attended the launch, said:
Bristol West is a key target seat for us. It’s an area where people can vote Green knowing they don’t have to vote tactically because there’s no chance of the Conservatives winning. With the current Labour MP facing potential deselection and under fire from Corbyn supporters within her own party, they’ve completely lost their momentum. We have a fantastic candidate who’s led on the Climate Emergency, who’s consistent on Brexit, and who’s held the council to account and delivered real, tangible change for the most vulnerable people in the city. It’s time for a new politics. Carla can win.
Ellie Chowns launches league table of West Midlands councils’ climate commitments
Green MEP Ellie Chowns this week released a league table of councils in the West Midlands and their action on climate change. The league table assesses councils on their public commitments, such as declaring a climate emergency. It also as assesses practical measures to address climate change, including divesting from fossil fuels and current trajectory for reaching net-zero carbon emissions.
Of the district councils in the region, Worcester was found to be performing best on climate change, with Nuneaton and Bedworth performing worst, along with East Staffordshire and North Warwickshire. Of the unitary, county or metropolitan councils, Birmingham and Herefordshire were deemed to be the best performers, and Solihull the worst.
Speaking on Solihull Council’s poor performance, Chowns said:
Solihull’s record on climate change is dismal. They are wasting the opportunities that come with a green transition.
As I said in August, we need concrete action from every level of power to tackle the climate crisis.
Across the West Midlands region people are waking up to the crisis and doing exactly that, but we need it from every council.
In Solihull we need investment in public transport, energy efficient homes to be built and green spaces protected.
The council must step up to the challenge, for the sake of its residents and indeed the planet. There is a massive task ahead