Ashley Gunstock

The Green Party of England and Wales leadership election is experiencing a last minute flurry of candidates. Earlier today, former deputy leader Shahrar Ali announced he’s standing for the top job. Now Ashley Gunstock – an actor best known for a stint in the ITV police drama The Bill – has also confirmed he’s put his name forward.

Gunstock isn’t a newcomer to Green Party leadership contests. In 2008, he went head to head with Caroline Lucas in the party’s first ever leadership election. Despite Lucas’ much higher profile, he fared better than other contenders in later years, picking up 7.6 per cent of the vote.

Gunstock is yet to release much detail on his campaign. He made his announcement in a brief tweet:

However, like other contenders in this year’s election, Gunstock has placed the climate crisis front and centre of his pitch to members. Following his announcement, he told Bright Green that he saw getting more Greens elected was key to tackling the climate crisis. He also said that he stands for “ecological, social, political and economic justice”. He said:

My overriding desire is to address the issue of Climate Change and avert the otherwise impending catastrophe. I believe that, in order to do so, as a political party, it is the job of the Greens to keep the pressure on the other parties by getting more of us elected. I stand for ecological, social, political and economic justice – and I have a plan.

Gunstock is yet to reveal what his plan consists of.

Other candidates

Gunstock is the fifth candidate to put their name forward in this year’s election. His announcement comes within hours of Shahrar Ali‘s. Also this week, Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond, and Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay announced they were standing for the top job on joint tickets. In July, Tina Rothery and Martin Hemingway put themselves forward for the role too – also standing to be co-leaders.

Without the full list of nominees having been published, it remains possible that other candidates are yet to emerge. However, a number of high profile figures have ruled themselves out. 2020 leadership contender Rosi Sexton ruled herself out of the contest in July. Today, former Bristol Lord Mayor Cleo Lake also said that she wouldn’t be putting herself forward.

The Greens’ leadership election is taking place outside of the normal cycle. It has been triggered by Jonathan Bartley’s resignation at the end of July. His co-leader, Sian Berry, has continued as caretaker leader but ruled out standing in the by-election. In her statement ruling herself out, Berry said she sees as an “inconsistency” between the party’s position in favour on trans rights and the appointment of party spokespeople earlier in 2021.

Nominations in the leadership election close on August 17. Members will vote between August 31 and September 21.

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