Maggie Chapman teases potential election pact with SNP

Maggie Chapman - Scottish Green Party Co-Convener
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Co-convener of the Scottish Green Party Maggie Chapman has suggested that the party could enter an election pact with the SNP in 2021 Holyrood elections. The pact would be a strategic move in order to increase the pressure for a second independence referendum, by delivering a pro-independence majority in the Scottish parliament.

Speaking on the prospect to the Herald, Chapman said:

It is certainly possible. It is not something I would ever want us to rule out.

We would need to go into any of those discussions very clear of what it is we would be prepared to concede, what certain things would be our things that we would not give up at any cost.

Molly Scott Cato confirmed as lead candidate from South West Green Party

Molly Scott Cato
Creative Commons: Bristol Green Party

As we get closer to European Parliamentary elections on May 23, regional Green Parties continue to select their candidates.

This week, it was announced that Molly Scott Cato, elected as an MEP in 2014, will be the lead candidate for the South West of England and Gibraltar. She’s joined by five other candidates in the region, including the outgoing Lord Mayor of Bristol, Cleo Lake.

The full list of candidates is as follows:

  1. Molly Scott Cato
  2. Cleo Lake
  3. Carla Denyer
  4. Tom Scott
  5. Martin Dimery
  6. Karen La Borde

Scott Cato is the only Green MEP who is restanding in the forthcoming elections. Her colleagues Jean Lambert and Keith Taylor decided not to stand in London and the South East respectively.

For London, where the Greens have had an MEP elected since 1999, Lambeth councillor Scott Ainslie is the lead candidate. Candidates for the South East are yet to be announced, but internal candidates in the selection include Larry Sanders – the brother of Bernie Sanders – and the Isle of Wight General Election candidate for 2015 and 2017 Vix Lowthion.

Further candidates for other regions are expected to be announced in the coming week.

Greens launch manifesto for local elections in England

In advance of local elections in England on May 2, the Green Party has launched its manifesto. And it has put land reform front and centre of its campaign.

The party is pledging to enable the local community groups to buy neglected land and put it into community ownership. Its pledge seeks to replicate legislation in Scotland which gives community groups the first opportunity to bid for land.

Speaking on the launch of the manifesto, party co-leader Sian Berry said:

The Green Party believes local decisions should always be made by the communities who know their needs best, and that communities should get first say on how local land is used. That’s why today we promise to give communities the right to buy any land up for sale, as well as the power to force landowners to sell neglected brownfield land.

Green councillors will always help bring land back into use where it is being neglected and hoarded by people who are hanging on for profits – and in the hands of community groups, and parish and town councils who will use them for the common good.

In addition to the national manifesto launch, local Green Parties have also been setting out their stall. Leicester Green Party are running on a platform of free bus travel for children, prohibiting new road builds, and ensuring school meals are vegetarian only at least one day a week.

Amelia Womack welcomes end of topless models in the Daily Star

Amelia Womack
Creative Commons: Krystyna Haywood

This week, the Daily Star ended its long running featuring of topless models on page 3. And the move has been welcomed by leading Greens. Deputy leader of the Green Party of England and Wales said:

The Star changing its policy is a sign of the times and is thanks to campaigners and activists who have continued to speak out about sexism in the media.

In 2019 we should now have a permanent commitment to end page 3 as well as a commitment to end the misogynistic bias that is behind many press stories which perpetuate stereotypes about roles of women in our society.

Caroline Lucas celebrates parliamentary pension fund making moves towards divestment

Caroline Lucas
Image credit: Creative Commons: GPEW

On Tuesday 9 April, parliament’s pension fund trustees made changes to its investment rules to take account of climate change. This has been seen as a first step towards fossil fuel divestment for the fund.

Green MP Caroline Lucas had been a part of the Divest Parliament campaign which is calling for the pension fund to end its ties to the fossil fuel industry.

In light of the announcement, Lucas said:

Protecting the natural world is now humanity’s greatest mission, so this change of tack from the MPs’ pension fund is very welcome. It has taken four long years to get to this point, but the trustees finally now appear to accept that fossil fuels are a risky investment, both for savers and the planet, and this marks a significant change in policy.

Green Party of England and Wales processes face criticism in wake of allegations regarding former deputy leader

The Green Party of England and Wales this weekend admitted that it was guilty of a “serious omission and failure” with regards to its handling of complaints made against former deputy leader Will Duckworth. The party’s central office received allegations of sexual misconduct involving children made against Duckworth in December 2014.

However, the Times has reported that the party took no action against Duckworth until last month. A spokesperson for the party told the Times:

We would hold up our hands and say this was a serious omission and failure. We apologise unreservedly. When we were informed of the 2014 allegations again in November 2018, we carried out an immediate risk assessment. Earlier this year, in line with our new safeguarding policy, [Duckworth] was suspended pending an investigation. He subsequently resigned. However the investigation will continue.

According to the Times report, the allegations stem from Duckworth’s time as a teacher in the Black Country. He was dismissed from his post after reports of inappropriate conversations he had with school children.

Duckworth was deputy leader of the party from 2012-2014.