Photos of Caroline Lucas, George Monbiot and Ed O'Brien

This article is part of a weekly round up of news in the Green Party of England and Wales’ 2021 leadership election. Every Monday until voting closes Bright Green will be bringing you a summary of all the twists and turns in the campaign. 

Caroline Lucas backs Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay’s bid

We’re in the first week of the Green Party’s leadership election following the close of nominations on August 17. Candidates are now lapping up endorsements from prominent figures both inside and outside the party. And this week, the most high profile figure within the party – Caroline Lucas – has thrown her weight behind Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay.

The Greens’ sole MP tweeted her support for the pair on August 19:

The endorsement was naturally welcomed by Denyer and Ramsay. Ramsay told Bright Green he was “flattered” by Lucas’ endorsement. He said:

We’re very flattered by the support we’re receiving – it means a lot to have the endorsement of people you respect.

Ultimately these statements say a few simple things. That our experience, our values, and our service as elected Greens leave us best placed to lead the party. We will be the duo who take the party to the next level and helps win our second Green MP.

Denyer and Ramsay have also been backed by former MEP Gina Dowding and last year’s leadership candidate Rosi Sexton.

Radiohead guitarist and filmmaker back Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond

Unsurprisingly, it’s not just Denyer and Ramsay getting the backing of influential people. Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond have also been picking up high profile support, including from prominent figures outside of the party.

This week, Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien announced his support for the pair. O’Brien said that he and his family were “instantly excited” upon hearing of Womack and Omond’s candidacy. He added that their candidacy “gives us hope”:

Womack and Omond this week also received an endorsement from the filmmaker and former YouTuber Jack Harries. Describing Womack and Omond as “unstoppable”, Harries said they were “the team needed and required to turn this party into the electoral force that we need right now”.

Womack and Omond had already secured support from a range of other public figures. The author and columnist George Monbiot tweeted his support on August 12. Deputy leader of Brighton & Hove Council Hannah Clare is also backing Womack and Omond, as is LGBTIQA+ Greens co-chair Ria Patel.

Shahrar Ali reveals list of endorsements

Shahrar Ali has also received the backing of a long list of party members. On his campaign website he boasts support from Councillors, former leadership contenders and members of the Green Party of Executive.

Among his backers is Sheffield City Councillor Alison Teal. With the Greens having entered joint administration with Labour, Teal is now Sheffield City Council’s executive member for sustainable neighbourhoods, wellbeing, parks and leisure. Teal described Ali as a “clear, confident and forthright communicator”.

Former Wales Green Party leader Pippa Bartolotti has also come out to support Ali’s campaign. Bartolotti came fourth in the 2012 leadership election.

Other supporters of Ali include the filmmaker David Malone who came second in the 2016 leadership election, and the party’s current equality and diversity coordinator Rashid Nix.

LBC to host first ever Green Party leadership debate

This year’s leadership election has been notable for receiving more mainstream media coverage than most. That coverage stepped up a gear this week as LBC confirmed it will be hosting a debate among the leadership contenders. This is understood to be the first time the broadcaster has hosted such a debate. The debate will be broadcast on LBC at 8pm on September 2.

All five leadership tickets will be represented at the debate. Shahrar Ali and Ashley Gunstock – as candidates standing alone – will be appearing on the programme. Adrian Ramsay will represent the Denyer-Ramsay ticket. Martin Hemingway will represent the Rothery-Hemingway ticket. And Amelia Womack will represent the Womack-Omond ticket.

Tamsin Omond says Green Party wants “anti-transphobic” leadership

Since announcing their candidacy, Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond have placed standing up for trans rights as a central plank of their campaign. And this week, Omond reiterated this in an interview with Pink News.

Omond told Pink News that the country needs “a Green Party that is championing trans rights” and said that the party wanted “anti-transphobic leadership”. They said:

I can quite confidently say that what the Green Party wants now is for its leadership to be anti-transphobic.

They added:

What the country needs is a Green Party that is championing trans rights.

That is standing firmly on the right side of history, and acting as a signpost towards a more inclusive future, a greener future, a future that includes the voices and solutions that are created within communities who are marginalised and oppressed – because we are the people who have lived impossible lives.”

Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay set out ambition for 900 Green Councillors and at least 2 Green MPs by 2025

With the leadership campaign now well underway, candidates are setting out their vision for the future of the party. For many members a key question will be what they see as the vision for the party’s electoral prospects.

Members will now have a sense of what Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay see as their ambition. In an article for Left Foot Forward, the pair wrote that they would seek to get 900 Greens elected to local Councils and at least two MPs elected by 2025. Claiming that they are the leadership hopefuls that would give the Greens the “best shot” of getting a second MP elected, the pair drew on their experience of managing and standing in general elections which have seen significant increases in vote shares.

Denyer and Ramsay wrote:

We also need to take the Green Party to the next level. By 2025 our goal is to have won at least a second MP. Having a leadership team with in-depth knowledge of campaigning for parliamentary seats – Carla more than doubled the Green vote share in Bristol West in 2019, gaining the highest number of Green votes in any General Election outside Brighton – gives us our best shot at winning that crucial next MP.

Denyer and Ramsay aren’t the only ones to have made bold claims about future electoral success. Last week, Amelia Womack told the i that she and Tamsin Omond would seek to get “in the region of eight to 10 MPs” elected by 2030.

Shahrar Ali reiterates campaign priorities in Morning Star interview

Media coverage for the leadership contest has been in abundance this week. Shahrar Ali kicked off his press rounds with an interview with the Morning Star. 

In the interview, Ali reiterated his already announced campaign commitments. Responding to a question on his priorities, Ali named making the case for “immediate action on the climate ecological emergency” first on his list. He said:

Firstly, to boldly make the case, at the ballot box and beyond, for immediate action on the climate and ecological emergency. It’s hard for us to get our heads round the scale of transformation required to overcome the worst excesses of climate degradation, much of which has already been set in train.

The prize for humanity is great, our continued existence and the threat of species extinction (not just our own) too grave to contemplate. Greens have long advocated a Green New Deal, which would require overhaul of the economic system and investment in renewable energy, with Green jobs to match.

Ali went on to make clear once again that he is standing on a platform of supporting those who campaign around “sex-based rights”. Such members have frequently been accused of opposing some of the Greens’ policies and messages on LGBTIQA+ rights. He also implied that a “hostile environment” has been created for women in the party. He said:

Many women I have spoken to, including in my own party, have felt prevented from organising around campaigns to preserve or protect their sex-based rights. Many brilliant campaigners have in fact resigned. In any arena of equalities, if you’ve got a group of people who feel that they are affected by the claims of another group of people, that requires negotiation not imposition.

Ali also used the interview to restate his opposition to what he described as the “bogus” IHRA definition of antisemitism.

Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond set out plan for their first 100 days if elected

Writing in Left Foot Forward this week, Amelia Womack and Tamsin Omond outlined what they would seek to deliver in their first 100 days if elected. As part of a long list of priorities, Womack and Omond pledged to:

  • Establish the Green Party as “the go-to voice on the climate”.
  • Visit target parliamentary constituencies and target local election seats in every region.
  • Meet with “the UK’s leading progressive thinkers and movements” in order to develop the “best ideas for a low-carbon future” and strengthen relationships with campaign groups.
  • Meet with journalists and news editors to strengthen media coverage for the party.
  • “Developing a proper process for dealing with hate speech”.

Tina Rothery calls for end to British investment in global oil and gas projects

Taking a more global view of politics, Tina Rothery called this week for an end to UK investment in new oil and gas projects across the globe. Writing in Left Foot Forward, Rothery argued:

The calls for Boris Johnson to publish his climate plan for the UK are growing louder. This must be a plan that delivers real zero emissions – not sleight of hand – a plan that cuts investment in new oil and gas developments, and puts a stop to dangerous fracking operations at home and abroad.

Rothery continued:

International solidarity between anti-fracking groups is vital for activists around the world; helping inform and show evidence of supply links for finance and services that can be traced and targeted. Although sites may be located in places like South America and Africa, they are enabled by the finance, machinery and resources that come from countries like the UK.

PS. We hope you enjoyed this article. Bright Green has got big plans for the future to publish many more articles like this. You can help make that happen. Please donate to Bright Green now.