Green Party Executive election kicks off – UK Green news round up issue 62
Candidates throw their hats into the ring for GPEx elections
Nominations for the forthcoming Green Party of England and Wales Executive (GPEx) elections open on June 1. These elections will see new members of GPEx – including the three leadership positions of either a single leader and two deputies, or two co-leaders and one deputy – elected after a long campaign which will end on August 31. GPEx is responsible for overseeing day to day management of the party, is the employer of party staff and oversees the party’s finances.
Despite the election still being yet to get underway, a number of members have announced their candidacy for GPEx positions.
Earlier this week, Knowsley councillor Kai Taylor announced his plan to stand for the position of elections coordinator. Speaking on his candidacy, he placed opposing electoral alliances at the fore of his campaign. He told Bright Green:
I’m standing because I believe I have the experience and the skills necessary to radically transform and professionalise our electoral strategy. It’s so important we move on from the Progressive Alliance and establish the Green Party as a serious political force.
Taylor has since been joined in the elections coordinator race by Joe Levy and Laurie Needham who announced their candidacy as a job share on May 30. Levy is a Green activist based in Exeter, and Needham is a councillor in Leicestershire. Speaking to Bright Green, the pair said:
We’ve loved working together over the last few years since Campaign School. We think our combined experience as an elected councillor and a campaign manager would make us a great team to help the party be as effective as possible in elections at all levels.
In the running for the international coordinator position are Sam Murray and Alice Hubbard, running together as a job share. Murray is a former co-chair of the Young Greens and Hubbard currently serves as international coordinator on GPEx alongside Michal Chantkowski. Speaking to Bright Green on their candidacy, Hubbard said:
Despite Brexit we want to bring the party closer to our global green family and show commitment to internationalism. To do this we will organise webinars, zoom parties and chances for local parties to meet with international greens. We will bring the international green family to you by sharing news of green successes from around the world.
And for the position of GPEx chair, Benjamin Smith and Ashley Routh announced their intention to stand this week too. Smith has previously served as deputy leader of the Wales Green Party, and Routh is a Green Party activist from Sheffield. Speaking to Bright Green, they said:
We’re standing because we think we need better representation of young people and minorities on GPEx, further to this we both have a wealth of experience both from within the party and outside of it that make us confident we are very competent prospective Co-Chairs.
Meanwhile, LGBTIQA+ Greens co-chiar and London Assembly candidate Benali Hamdache ruled himself out of standing in the elections. Hamdache tweeted:
There’s a lot of rumours about me standing for the Green Party Executive.
Want to make it super clear I won’t be standing.
“I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected” etc.
Please. I value my parlous grasp on my wellbeing too much.
— Benali Hamdache (@greenbenali) May 29, 2020
As of yet, no candidates have come forward for either the leadership or deputy leadership of the party. The following positions are up for election this year:
- Deputy Leader
- Campaigns Co-ordinator
- Elections Co-ordinator
- External Communications Co-ordinator
- Management Co-ordinator
- International Co-ordinator
- Policy Development Co-ordinator
- Publications Co-ordinator
- Trade Union Liaison Officer
Jonathan Bartley accuses Boris Johnson of misleading parliament
Both England’s care sector has remained in crisis throughout the coronavirus pandemic. And now the UK government is facing criticism for its discharging of patients with Covid-19 symptoms from hospitals to care homes, and its false claims that it had not done so.
Among those to criticise the government for this was Green Party of England and Wales co-leader Jonathan Bartley. He accused Boris Johnson of having misled parliament for in denying these discharges took place. Bartley told Left Foot Forward:
That the Prime Minister misled Parliament seems self-evident. The testimony of those who had loved ones in care homes, who worked in them and represent those who do is overwhelming.
The Government’s own guidance said care home patients should accept coronavirus patients, even if they had not completed the 14 day isolation period. The decision was even taken by government not to test staff or residents in care homes whilst actively discharging patients out of the NHS, untested, into social care settings.
Andy Wightman calls for assurances over fears of evictions spike
Evictions hearings for private renting tenants resume in Scotland in July. And the Scottish Green Party has warned that this could lead to a spike in evictions and, subsequently, of homelessness. The warning comes after the Scottish Government rejected proposals from Green MSP Andy Wightman to introduce protections for tenants in emergency legislation. These protections included a ban on evictions based on rent arrears accrued during the pandemic, a tenant hardship fund, and a rent freeze.
Wightman accused the ruling SNP of ‘siding with Tories’ to vote these down. He said:
It’s clear that when hearings resume they are likely to face a backlog of cases of people being evicted from their homes. This could lead to a spike in the number of people being made homeless.
Everybody should have access to a safe, secure home during this crisis. A spike in evictions, leading to an increase in homeless households, helps nobody – and it certainly does not protect the health of the Scottish public.
Under Scottish Green proposals, nobody would have been evicted from their home as a result of missing rent payments during the crisis period. After the SNP sided with the Tories to reject them, tenants need assurances now from the Scottish Government about what will happen at the end of the emergency period.
Greens call for Dominic Cummings to be sacked
The furore surrounding Boris Johnson’s senior advisor Dominic Cummings’ travels and breaking of lockdown rules have dominated this week’s front pages. Along with the overwhelming majority of the public, prominent Greens have now backed calls for Cummings to resign.
Green MP Caroline Lucas did so in a letter to Boris Johnson. Cutting to the chase, Lucas begun her letter by stating:
I am writing to urge you to sack your special adviser, Dominic Cummings, with immediate effect.
She continued, by accusing Cummings of being “indefensible” and “reckless”. She wrote:
Mr Cummings actions are indefensible, illegal and reckless. Your Government’s response shows utter contempt for so many people who have made sacrifices through this crisis and continue to do so. I therefore call on you to act decisively and to end this trial by media and public opinion, which has seen a young boy in particular brought into the spotlight through no fault of his own, and sack your special adviser, making clear that the rules apply to everyone and that none of your team are entitled to break them.
Meanwhile, former Green MEP Magid Magid accused Dominic Cummings of ‘not giving a fuck’. He tweeted:
This is two seperate stories on the BBC News front page.
— 🚀MΛG!D (@MagicMagid) May 23, 2020
Rachel Woods calls for greater budget transparency
With Stormont now having been sitting again for the past four months, Green MLAs have continued to hold the Northern Ireland Executive to account. And this week, that accountability included calls for proper budget transparency – and for greater measures to support the north of Ireland’s economy.
Green MLA Rachel Woods said:
I recognise the efforts of the Executive in the face of this unprecedented pandemic.
The situation reduces the ability of MLAs to scrutinise Ministerial decisions and departmental spending.
Departments need funds to respond with timely interventions during this crisis, but we also need scrutiny as a vital part of the democratic process.
The economic impact of this pandemic is being felt and will continue to be felt for years to come. Economic recession looms large and we still are without a recovery plan.
However, there is an opportunity to build back better through a just transition to a low carbon economy and a Green New Deal.
Dealing with Climate Breakdown and our biodiversity crisis is not separate from economic issues, they are two sides of the same coin.