Caroline Lucas

The Green Party’s sole MP Caroline Lucas has today announced that she will not be seeking re-election as an MP in the next general election. She has said that being the party’s sole MP combined with the demands of her constituency responsibilities has meant that she has not been able to focus as much time as she would like on combatting the climate and ecological crises.

In a statement published on her website, Lucas said: “I have always prided myself on being, first and foremost, a good constituency MP. The people who have come to me in my regular surgeries are often desperate, feeling like they have nowhere else to turn – they’re looking for care and compassion not the tangled bureaucratic web that passes for a safety net, and that all too often just causes confusion and complication. I’ve done everything possible to help wherever I can and always worked to ensure that people feel heard, that their concerns matter, and that they are not alone.

“But the intensity of these constituency commitments, together with the particular responsibilities of being my Party’s sole MP, mean that, ironically, I’ve not been able to focus as much as I would like on the existential challenges that drive me – the Nature and Climate emergencies. I have always been a different kind of politician – as those who witnessed my arrest, court case and acquittal over peaceful protest at the fracking site in Balcombe nearly ten years ago will recall. And the truth is, as these threats to our precious planet become ever more urgent, I have struggled to spend the time I want on these accelerating crises. I have therefore decided not to stand again as your MP at the next election.”

As part of her announcement, Lucas reflected on her achievements in parliament. She said:

“The reason I came into politics was to change things. Thirteen years ago it’s inconceivable that Parliament would have declared a climate emergency. And I’ve put issues like a universal basic income and a legal right to access nature on the political agenda; secured the first Parliamentary debate in a generation on drug law reform; and thanks to my work in Parliament, a Natural History GCSE will soon be on the syllabus. I have said the previously unsayable, only to see it become part of the mainstream, on coal, on the myth that endless economic growth makes us happier, on a Green New Deal.”

Lucas made history in 2010 by becoming the Greens’ first ever member of parliament. She was re-elected at each subsequent election with a bigger majority, securing the largest ever majority for any MP for Brighton Pavilion in 2019.

Commenting on the announcement, Green Party of England and Wales Co-leader Carla Denyer said: “Caroline’s impact on politics in this country cannot be overstated: she truly is a force of nature and has been an extraordinary servant of the people of Brighton Pavilion as well as the Green Party. We are so proud of her achievements.

“Whether securing significant policy changes, shaping the conversation, or modelling a different way of doing politics – Caroline demonstrates how essential it is to have Green voices in UK politics. I’ve learnt so much from her, she is an inspiration to me and to many people inside and outside the Green Party who want to see positive change in politics .”

Adrian Ramsay, the party’s other co-leader said: “Caroline’s contribution to our national life has been something to behold for the more than two decades we’ve known one another. Very few politicians can claim to have changed the course of the national debate in the way Caroline has. She has brought so much to us as a party, shown real integrity in her work and added a crucial dimension to our democracy in this country.

“Having MPs who are genuinely dedicated to standing up for the climate and nature could not be more important than it is right now and that’s why we are striving to get more Green MPs elected at the next General Election so that we can build on Caroline’s achievements.”

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Image credit: UK Parliament – Creative Commons