Sian Berry, Jonathan Bartley and Amelia Womack all re-elected to Green Party leadership
Green Party of England and Wales co-leaders Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley were today re-elected for another term in their roles. In a hotly contested election, the pair saw off competition from Solihull councillor Rosi Sexton and former deputy leader Shahrar Ali.
On a reduced turnout – just 15% of eligible voters – Berry and Bartley were elected in the second round of counting. They received 49% of first preference votes, down from 75.5% from their first election in 2018.
Speaking on their re-election, Bartley said:
The economic, climate and health crises have put the country at a crossroads. We can continue down the same old road or we can choose a transformative Green recovery that ensures the wellbeing of us all, now and in the future.
Only the Greens have a clear, positive vision for what the country could be, and the ambition to build a grassroots mass movement which will demand, and work for, better than what came before.
We want to thank the members of the Green Party for re-electing us at such a crucial time for our movement and the country. Thank you, too, to all the candidates who put themselves forward and ran powerful campaigns that generated vibrant discussions and new ideas – the lifeblood of a democratic party.
Berry, who is the Green candidate in the delayed 2021 London Mayoral election said that she wanted to build on the party’s success in the 2019 local elections. She said:
We’re growing fast. Last year we doubled the number of Green councillors, and the 18 councils where Greens are part of the administration are among the most innovative and exciting in the country. But we can do so much more.
Next year people will have a chance to bring real change to their area by electing more Green councils, putting Green voices in the Senedd, and electing a Green Mayor for London.
Green politics is built on grassroots action, co-operation and democratic participation. We believe in a democracy where every voice is heard and politicians’ power comes from an active citizenry, not big-money donors.
If you want a safe, fair and exciting future for your area, for the country and for the world, we invite you to join the Green Party and help us make the difference. Better is possible, if we build it together.”
Sexton came second in the race, receiving 27% of members’ first preferences – the highest percentage won by any second placed leadership candidate since 2012. After Ali – who came last with 24% of first preferences – was eliminated, she finished the race on 38% of the vote.
Speaking to Bright Green, Sexton described this as a “great result” and said her campaign had “resonated” with the membership. She said:
I came into this election as a complete unknown to most people in the party, so to finish on 38% of second round votes is a great result. I think the way my campaign has resonated with so many people both inside and outside the party shows that the issue I’ve been raising in my campaign are important ones for us to address. Many of our members have agreed that a focus on inclusion, credibility and winning elections is needed to take the party to the next level as a mainstream political force.
I’d like to congratulate Sian and Jonathan. I’m confident the party is in safe hands, and I’m looking forward to working with them in future as we all move forward together as a party.
Amelia Womack re-elected deputy leader
In the deputy leadership contest, incumbent Amelia Womack was re-elected for a fourth consecutive term. In a crowded field with four other candidates, Womack picked up 47% of first preference votes and was elected in the second round of counting.
Speaking on her re-election, Womack said:
We are building on strong foundations to ensure that we get more Greens elected across the country, and I am proud to be re-elected as deputy leader to continue that work.
We have proven ourselves to be a political force to be reckoned with, and we will prove that again in the vital elections next year. Delivering real action on the climate and ecological emergency, while working to tackle inequality, our party is the only party that has the message and policy fit for the challenges of the 21st century.
Former Lord Mayor of Bristol Cleo Lake came second in the election, picking up more than 2,000 votes. Lake told Bright Green she was “disappointed” with the results, and thanked her campaign team for their support.
I am in part disappointed of course but I’ve come a good second and I’ve shown that I am a serious contender. Big thanks to my amazing campaign team and also my boyfriend encouraging me all the way from Ghana! Congratulations to all those elected.
I am particularly enthused that Kefentse Dennis is elected trade union rep and if I have any capacity I would like to support him in the role as if we don’t do more to bring working class communities into the party then it’s not a feasible party.
I would have brought unity and a new energy but that isn’t to be this time.
Also I am energised by many young activists that I have met mainly through [Black Lives Matter]. I hope I can pass on enough to them and work with them to force change by all means. I didn’t come into politics to topple statues but to collaborate to topple absolute privilege, inequality and the system at large that doesn’t serve the majority.
Andrea Carey-Fuller came third with 684 first preference votes, followed by Tom Pashby with 309 and Nick Humberstone with 282.
Molly Scott Cato to be the next Green peer
Alongside the elections for the leadership and deputy leadership of the party, members also spent the summer voting on who would be the next Green peer, should the party be offered one.
In that selection, members’ preferences formed a ranked list. If the party is offered one peerage, the first placed candidate would become a member of the House of Lords. If the party is offered two, the first two candidates and so on.
The selection saw former MEP Molly Scott Cato top the list, with re-elected deputy leader Amelia Womack in second. Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Rupert Read was in third place, followed by Kirklees councillor Andrew Cooper.
Speaking to Bright Green, Scott Cato said:
I’m delighted that the party has chosen me to be our next peer should we be offered one. I hope to use my experience as legislator in the European Parliament to bring the Lords into the 21st century and hold this government to account.
I’m proud to be a member of a party that chooses our potential members of the unelected chamber democratically. Clearly, we would rather it was a democratic house but we believe that we need to use every power platform we can to work for a just and sustainable future.
I’m also proud that, without quota system or positive discrimination, women are so successful in our party and amongst our representatives although I would like to see true gender balance and think we should seek ways to support men in also achieving prominence as the party’s representatives.
New executive elected
The Green Party’s summer voting bonanza didn’t stop there. Also announced today were the results of the party’s executive (GPEx) elections. GPEx is the body responsible for day to day management of the party. It also holds legal and financial responsibility.
A total of nine positions (other than leader and deputy leader) were elected on GPEx this year. The results were as follows:
- Liz Reason was re-elected as GPEx chair. Reason has been in the post since 2018. She faced controversy during the election after Left Foot Forward revealed that she had been suspended by the party for two years. This decision was later overturned by GPEx in a move described by the party’s standing orders committee as “unconstitutional”.
- Britta Goodman was re-elected as campaigns coordinator. Goodman has served in the position with Caroline New for the past two years.
- Kai Taylor and Claire Stephenson were elected as elections coordinator in a job share. Taylor is a councillor in Knowsley. Stephenson is a journalist and Green Party activist in Lancashire.
- Molly Scott Cato was also elected as external communications coordinator.
- Claudine Letsae was elected as international coordinator. Letsae was previously the party’s equality and diversity coordinator, and unseated incumbent international coordinator Alice Hubbard who was standing as a job share with former Young Greens co-chair Sam Murray.
- Matthew Browne and Florence Pollock were elected as a job share as management coordinator. Browne previously worked in the party’s central office and Pollock is a former co-chair of the Young Greens senate.
- Vix Lowthion was elected as policy coordinator. Lowthion is the party’s education spokesperson and has stood for the Greens in the Isle of Wight in three consecutive general elections.
- Julia Lagoutte was elected as publications coordinator. Lagoutte is the co-host of the Big Green Politics podcast.
- Kefentse Dennis was elected as trade union liaison officer, unseating incumbent Paul Valentine, who stood in a job share with former Young Greens treasurer Matthew Hull. Dennis is an activist in Birmingham Green Party.
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