Cleo Lake

Cleo Lake – the former Lord Mayor of Bristol – is set to stand to be the next deputy leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, Bright Green can reveal. Lake has been a city councillor in Bristol since 2016 and was second on the Greens’ list for the 2019 European elections for the South West England constituency.

During Lake’s time in office as Lord Mayor, she gained national media attention for removing a portrait of slave trader Edward Colston from the Lord Mayor’s office – the same Colston who’s statue was toppled in Bristol earlier this year. She later removed the portrait of Robert Craggs-Nugent – a figure who played a key role in expanding the trans-atlantic slave trade – from the office as well, again receiving national coverage. Her Mayoralty was also celebrated with her receipt of the special recognition award at the Bristol Diversity Awards.

Widely respected in the party, and with a higher profile than most Greens in local government, Lake’s candidacy provides the first real challenge to Amelia Womack’s bid to be re-elected for a fourth term. Womack announced her intention to restand for the deputy leadership on June 17.

Speaking to Bright Green on her candidacy, Lake said she wished to “inspire other activists” to enter politics by becoming the party’s deputy leader. Lake said:

In deciding to run as deputy I am very conscious of the political landscape for women and women of colour, but representation is crucial and by standing I would hope to inspire other activists of various backgrounds to enter the political arena because I believe change can come from within and from outside of the mainstream system.

She continued by claiming that she would bring a “no-nonsense message” to the deputy leadership:

I would like to think that I bring a level of creativity, diplomacy and yet when needed, a no-nonsense message, particularly regarding equalities across a number of factors and in particular ‘class’ and race.

Lake – who works in the arts sector – also committed to bring this background into the role. She said:

As an arts advocate I would continue to incorporate an art element in my approach to leadership.

Lake joins both Womack and London based Nick Humberstone in the race for the deputy leadership. With just four days until the close of nominations, only Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley have put their names forward for the leadership position.

The election for the next Green Party leadership team will run through the summer, with members able to vote throughout August.

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