Who are the candidates running for the Wales Green Party leadership?
It’s election time again. Wales Green Party members will this month vote to elect a new leader and two new deputy leaders. There are five candidates in the running – including two incumbents.
Anthony Slaughter is seeking re-election as leader of the party. First elected in 2018, Slaughter led the Welsh Greens through the 2021 Senedd elections. In that election, the party recorded its best ever vote share in the devolved body, but failed to win any seats.
Slaughter told Bright Green his time in office had been an “honour and a privilege” and said that he’d made the Greens a “credible force” in Wales. He said:
It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as leader of Wales Green Party for the last three years. Even through the recent difficult and challenging Covid pandemic it has been exciting and rewarding working with our dedicated activists across Wales, helping to grow our party at both local and national level and making it a credible force in the Welsh political landscape.
Slaughter continued by claiming under his leadership, the party would secure an “historic breakthrough” in the 2022 Welsh local elections. The Greens currently have no Councillors in Wales, with the party’s sole Councillor Emily Durrant defecting to Plaid Cymru on 1 November 2021. Slaughter said:
Following our best ever Senedd election results in May, I am standing for a second term as leader as I believe that I have the skills, experience and commitment needed to build on those results and maintain the momentum to ensure we achieve an historic breakthrough in next year’s crucial Council elections. Over my term as leader and previous terms as deputy I have helped raise our profile across Wales, both in the media and across our communities. Our radical policies on climate justice, social justice and equality are the change that is urgently needed and our voice needs to be heard.
Slaughter is facing just one other contender in the race for the top job. He’s up against Amerjit Kaur-Dhaliwal – a less well-known name outside of Wales. Kaur-Dhaliwal told Bright Green she was standing for the leadership so as to “help the party achieve its goals”. She said:
I’ve put myself forward as Green Party candidate in order to help the party achieve its goals. My background is in the arts and law, the latter specialising in the legislation of drinking water in England and Wales, the former spans visual, literary and performing arts. In addition to this skill set, I served in the Armed Forces Reserve Service as a Clerk; the MOD encouraged my leadership qualities and helped expand my skillset. I am hoping that my unique specialisations can be utilised by the party effectively.
I’ve been deputy leader of Wales Green Party since April 2020 and am delighted to put myself forward for re-election. This is an incredibly exciting time for the Green Party.
This year saw us break records all over Wales in the Senedd elections, doubling our votes in South Wales East, where I was a candidate. Now as we look forward to the local elections in 2022, we stand ready to make a breakthrough onto councils up and down the country.
She added that the if re-elected she would fight for “social justice, clean air and diversity”. She said:
Green representation has never been as needed as it is right now. Inequality continues to grow, our communities are flooding and our people feel forgotten. The Welsh Government dodge responsibility on the coronavirus crisis, refusing a Welsh Covid inquiry. The UK Government seeks to reduce our voice even further, cutting the number of Welsh MPs from 40 to 32.
If re-elected I will continue to be a passionate advocate for social justice, clean air and diversity both within the party and outside it, in an independent Wales. I hope to continue my work in building a successful and inspiring Wales Green Party as their deputy leader.
Also in the running for deputy leader is Helen Westhead. Currently the Cardiff Green Party’s communications officer, Westhead was second on the Greens’ list for the South Wales Central region in the 2021 Senedd election.
Speaking on her candidacy, Westhead told Bright Green she would use the position to “grasp this pivotal moment” of putting the climate crisis at the heart of Welsh politics. She said:
As leaders meet in Glasgow for COP26, Wales is facing unprecedented challenges to put net zero at the heart of its agenda. We have the passion, skills and expertise within Wales Green Party, working together with communities to transform Wales – creating a green nation with climate and social justice at its heart. As deputy spokesperson my intention is to help the party grasp this pivotal moment now – when support for Wales Green Party has never been greater it is our time to step up, be ambitious and be bold.
The final candidate for deputy leader is Debra Cooper. Cooper was fourth on the South Wales Central list for the Greens in the 2021 Senedd election.
She told Bright Green that she wanted to see the Greens “grow throughout Wales”. She said:
I stood as a candidate in North Cardiff last May, and by working as a local community we achieved an increase in our local vote by 138%, the highest increase in Wales. I believe that by working together as an all-Wales team the Green Party can grow throughout Wales. I continue to work with my local community and have been selected to stand in my local ward in the Councillor elections in May 2022. I see the future of the Green Party as one which needs to work collaboratively as a whole nation, and I will strive to achieve this ambition.
The Wales Green Party is a semi-autonomous section of the Green Party of England and Wales. The Welsh Greens’ leadership election comes just a month after Adrian Ramsay and Carla Denyer were elected as co-leaders of the bi-national party.
In the coming weeks, Bright Green will be running rolling coverage of the election, with articles from candidates, news, analysis and interviews on our YouTube channel.
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Editor’s note: This article initially stated that the Green Party had one Councillor in Wales. However, the party’s sole Councillor defected from the Greens to Plaid Cymru shortly before this article was published. It was subsequently corrected to reflect this at 20.24 on November 1 2021.