Final push in Newport West as by-election looms

Green Party action day in Newport West by-election
Image credit: Gwent Green Party

This Thursday, the voters of Newport West will go to the polls in a parliamentary by-election. They are voting for the replacement for Paul Flynn, who sadly died earlier this year.

Green Party of England and Wales deputy leader Amelia Womack is standing in the by-election and this weekend, a team of Green volunteers came out to support her campaign to succeed Flynn.

Womack has prioritised demanding a Green New Deal as part of her campaign. She is one of eleven candidates in the hotly contested by-election which even attracted Jeremy Corbyn to help with the Labour campaign this weekend.

Caroline Lucas teams up with Clive Lewis to propose Green New Deal

Caroline Lucas
Image credit: Creative Commons: GPEW

Womack hasn’t been the only one joining the calls for a Green New Deal this week. Green MP Caroline Lucas has presented a Private Members Bill to parliament calling for the UK to introduce a Green New Deal. She did so with the Labour MP Clive Lewis.

This is the latest in Lucas’ long term campaigning around the project, as a member of the original Green New Deal group facilitated by the New Economics Foundation.

Speaking as she presented the bill, Lucas said:

Our climate and our society are in crisis – but our Government is failing to act. It is now clear that we need a bold and radical plan to fight the climate crisis at the scale that scientists say is necessary. To do that we need to transform our economy and society at the speed necessary to prevent climate breakdown. We need to do what is required of us – not simply what is seen as politically possible.

Young people understand the scale of the economic transformation we need to secure our futures. It’s time the Government woke up to the climate emergency and the UK’s grotesque levels of inequality and enacted a Green New Deal.

Her co-proposer Clive Lewis said:

The physics is clear. We must cut carbon emissions by 50 per cent, within a decade, to avoid climate breakdown. As climate strikers warn us, the planet will not wait.

This Bill sets a timetable that makes government, workers and communities the drivers of change, not the inheritors of chaos.

Mark Ruskell’s climate emergency motion voted down by Scottish Parliament

Greens in Scotland have also been pushing for parliamentary action on climate change. MSP Mark Ruskell this week proposed a motion calling for the Scottish Parliament to declare a climate emergency. This follows similar motions proposed and passed in local authorities across the UK.

Unfortunately, the Scottish Parliament voted the motion down. All other parties voted against the motion.

Ruskell subsequently expressed his disappointment at the vote:

It is hugely disappointing that the Scottish Parliament has failed to face up to the climate emergency.

The IPCC tell us we have just over ten years to act, but the SNP, Tories, Labour and Lib Dems are more concerned about propping up the unsustainable fossil fuel industry than taking the bold, urgent action that is required.

North West Green Party confirm European election candidates

As Brexit chaos continues, Greens are busy selecting candidates for potential European elections. This week, the North West Green Party confirmed they had selected their list for the elections. The full list of candidates is as follows:

  1. Gina Dowding
  2. Wendy Olsen
  3. Jessica Northey
  4. Geraldine Coggins
  5. Rosie Mills
  6. Astrid Johnson
  7. Dan Jerrome
  8. James Booth

Similar selection processes are ongoing in other regions, with results expected for many over the next two weeks.

Alison Johnstone hits out at SNP failures on child poverty

Alison Johnstone
Image credit: Creative Commons Edinburgh Green Party

Scottish Green Party parliamentary group co-leader Alison Johnstone this week used her platform at First Ministers’ Questions to hit out at the SNP’s failures to tackle child poverty. Johnstone did so in response to new figures which show that the number of children in child poverty in Scotland has increased by 10,000 in the last year.

After asking Nicola Sturgeon – the SNP First Minister of Scotland – what action she would be taking on child poverty, Johnstone said:

This increase in the numbers of children living in poverty is hugely concerning. This is yet more evidence, not that any more was needed, that UK welfare reforms are plunging hundreds of thousands of people into poverty, many of them children.

A U-turn on welfare reform from the UK Government is required more than ever. It should remove the Two Child Limit; end the Benefit Cap, which can take more than £2000 a year from our poorest families, and stop the cruel benefits freeze.

But the Scottish Government must consider more radical action too. We should be topping-up Child Benefit by £5 right now, and not wait until the proposed Income Supplement is ready. And we must redouble efforts to maximise take-up of social security by raising awareness and making devolved payments as easy as possible to apply for and receive

Greens say goodbye to outgoing MEPs

This week, the European Parliament’s term came to an end in the run up to elections in May. As such, Keith Taylor, Jean Lambert and Molly Scott Cato have ceased to be MEPs as of this week.

The leadership of the Green Party of England and Wales expressed their gratitude for the work carried out by the three MEPs. In a joint statement, Caroline Lucas, Amelia Womack, Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley said:

Green MEPs have shown that having a Green in the room can change everything. While the other parties fail to answer the great questions of our time – from Brexit, to the housing crisis or the threat of climate change – Molly, Keith and Jean have been at work making change happen. They have helped craft air pollution laws which saw the UK Government taken to court, forced the Government to publish its Brexit impact studies and improved and defended vital working rights. All while working together with our European neighbours to build a reformed Europe where we can all thrive.

Lambert was first elected as a member of the European parliament for London in 1999. Taylor became an MEP in 2010, following Caroline Lucas’ election to the UK parliament, as she vacated her European seat. Scott Cato first entered the parliament in 2014.