Caroline Lucas, MP, launches Green Party European election campaign in Cambridge
Former Green Party national leader Caroline Lucas launched the party’s campaign in Cambridge this week with a message of thanks for the recent protests by climate campaigners.
She credited the protests with raising new awareness of climate issues and causing a ‘green surge’ in the recent local elections.
And she added the focus of the European elections had moved away from just the Brexit conversation: “I think these elections are going to be the climate election as well as the Brexit election and absolutely I think that this is our time. Our time has come.”
Giving thanks to Extinction Rebellion and the school climate strikers, she told the crowd outside the Guildhall on Monday: “Let's hear it for them, because they have done such a good job. Thanks to their courage and their commitment climate issues are at the top of the political agenda in a way I don't remember for many many years. They have made sure that people who don’t normally engage with the environment agenda now understand the scale of the crisis that we face.”
The Green party lost its only councillor in the recent local elections, but Ms Lucas claimed that overall the Green vote has risen across the city.
She said: “The Green Party in Cambridge were changing their targeting strategy, so it was no longer a target seat. Obviously I wish we hadn’t lost it. Overall the total green vote was up almost double - to 15 per cent - so that is is a great base to build on.”
Cambridge was chosen as the place to launch The Green Party European Election campaign because the Eastern region is seen as a place where they stand a strong chance of winning a seat.
Ms Lucas said: “I came to Cambridge today because Cambridge and Norwich are at the heart of the Eastern region and we have a really good chance of winning our next MEP seat here.
“We were just one percent off winning here in the last European Elections and since that time we have had this green surge that has seen us win new local election seats right across the eastern region and nationwide so we believe this green surge will carry us across the line this time and that we will win a seat next week.”
The two candidates standing as for election as Green Party MEPs are Dr Catherine Rowett and Rupert Read.
The visit in Cambridge was also used to outline the party’s claim to be the leading Remain party in the East.
Ms Lucas said: “The Green Party is the strongest party of remain. We are the party that was instrumental in setting up the People’s Vote campaign. We want to see us remain within the EU and we already have three MEPs - that's more than the Lib Dems.”
She added they were “absolutely committed to standing up against the division and racism we are seeing in our politics today. Right from the start we have said to EU nationals who have made their lives here for many years - thank you for being here. We value the contribution you make to our society you are our friends our family you are welcome here. How dare the prime minister use your lives as pawns in her negotiations with the rest of the EU? We are proud to be the only party from across the UK to celebrate free movement”
And she said she had this message for the young people of Cambridge: “We are not going to betray your future. Brexit, I think, is an act of intergenerational betrayal. Why should we kick away the ladder that we have enjoyed when young people themselves will want to be able to travel and work in the EU, will ant to have their futures in the EU, to be able to study in a university with EU grants and so on.
“Young people are our future and the idea that people like Nigel Farage are claiming to speak for this country while at the same time kicking away the chances and opportunities of young people I think it is frankly obscene.”