Peter Cranie, the Greens’ candidate for Europe in the North-West, has come forward as a candidate for leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, setting out an electorally ambitious strategy based on attacking the austerity agenda he says is shared by the Conservatives and Labour.

Wales Green Party leader Pippa Bartolotti also announced her candidacy overnight – read about her campaign here.

In a video message posted on his campaign website, Cranie aims for multiple gains in the next European elections in 2014, and a campaign targeting 5 to 10 seats at Westminster over the next two elections.

Cranie himself narrowly missed out on a seat in the European Parliament in 2009, making up significant ground on the BNP in a hard-fought campaign and ultimately trailing by just 0.3%. He is the party’s nominee for the North-West again in this coming election.

Setting out his vision for the party, he says:

“It’s crucial in order to take the party forward that we’ve got a voice that speaks to north and south, that speaks to all ethnic backgrounds, that speaks to all the diversity that we have in our society.

“And we must be aiming to break the mould of British politics, to revolutionise the way that we do thinks, because the other parties offer a consensus of ideas and the Greens offer something different, something new, a vision of how things could be.”

His policy focus is firmly on the austerity agenda, and he suggests progressive Green economic policies such as higher taxes on the wealthy, direct government investment to create jobs, and a Robin Hood Tax on financial transactions should be front and centre.

“There’s a large sector of the electorate that’s vehemently opposed to the austerity agenda, and the only party offering them the policies they want is the Green Party.

“The Tories are using the economic crisis as an excuse to push their small-state ideology. They have got us locked into a downward spiral which is destroying public services and harming the economy.

“Labour has also bought into the destructive austerity agenda. So it’s up to the Greens to campaign for a more practical, caring, fairer approach to rescuing the economy and for government investment in job-creation.”

You can follow Peter Cranie’s campaign on Twitter, on Facebook and through his campaign website.