Lucas Becomes U.K. Green Party Leader Again, in Job-ShareBy
U.K. lawmaker to divide role with pensions spokesman Bartley
Pair called for ‘progressive alliance’ to block the Tories
The Green Party of England and Wales elected former leader Caroline Lucas to head the party once again.
Lucas won 86 percent of first preference votes and will take on the role in a job share with work and pensions spokesman Jonathan Bartley, the party announced at its Autumn Conference in Birmingham on Friday. The current leader, Natalie Bennett, is stepping down after four years. Their joint victory speech primarily set out the Greens’ response to Brexit and its causes.
“Once the principles of any new deal have been set out, we want them put to a second referendum,” said Lucas. The leaders of the Brexit campaign lied in their campaign, used “degrading,” “despicable” and “dehumanizing” posters, “and then they ran away,” she said.
Bartley attacked Uber Technologies Inc. and food-takeout service Deliveroo for “getting rich off workers who aren’t even guaranteed the minimum wage.”
“Globalization, centralization and new technologies leave so many behind,” he said.
Lucas, 55, is the best-known face of the Green Party. A former member of the European Parliament, she led the party between 2008 and 2012 and remains its only lawmaker in the House of Commons, representing Brighton Pavilion in southern England. Bartley co-runs religious think tank Ekklesia.
Earlier this year, the pair called for a new “progressive alliance” with other political parties to stop the Conservatives being elected. “I really think there is an appetite out there now for a less tribal politics,” Lucas said.
Green policies include a zero-carbon energy system, free university tuition, state ownership of the railways, a wealth tax and an expansion of homebuilding. The Lucas/Bartley joint ticket received an overwhelming 86 percent of the vote by party members. Amelia Womack was re-elected as deputy leader.
Bennett, an Australian, became leader in 2012 and was re-elected in 2014 without a formal contest. The party gained support under her stewardship and took 3.8 percent of the vote in the 2015 general election compared with just 1 percent in 2010.
Her worst moment came when she was unable to answer questions about the party’s housing policy during an LBC radio interview. Announcing her resignation in May, she acknowledged she was not a “spin-trained, lifelong politician.”