POLITICS

Labour, Lib Dems and Greens Need To Form A Progressive Alliance to Beat The Tories, Says Caroline Lucas

18/12/2015 13:40 GMT | Updated 18/12/2015 13:59 GMT
Lynne Cameron/PA Archive
Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas at the Green Party Conference in Liverpool.

A progressive alliance of Labour, Lib Dems and Greens should be formed to take on the Tories in the 2020 General Election, Caroline Lucas has claimed.

Speaking to the Huffington Post UK, the Green MP called on anti-Conservative parties to band together to stop the “terrifying” prospect of a further decade of Tory rule.

Ms Lucas, who increased her Brighton Pavilion majority in May’s General Election, said one of the key principles those in the alliance should agree upon is to introduce proportional representation in order to end the “logjam” of the current “archaic voting system.”

The Green MP refused to say this year’s election was a missed opportunity for her party, and instead blamed the campaign of fear run by the Tories for the party’s failure to secure anymore MPs.

Reflecting on how best to beat the Tories at the next election, Ms Lucas said: “Now I know there’s been a lot of discussion about progressive alliances for a very long time, and we haven’t managed to crack it yet, but I do think when you add in the boundary change realities coming from this Government that progressive politicians of all parties are thinking the idea of another five years of the Conservatives is terrifying enough, let alone another ten years.

“Just see what they’ve done in the last six months, they’ve more or less demolished local government as we know it, they have trashed the environment in unprecedented ways and that’s after six months of being unleashed upon us.

“I do think there is more of a will now too see if we can find ways of working together.”

Ms Lucas backed the idea of “joint tickets” in some constituencies, with a representative from either Labour, Lib Dems or the Greens agreeing on key principles.

She said: “How do we break this electoral logjam that we have with this archaic voting system that doesn’t properly reflect what people want and not forgetting the Government only has a majority of 12, and that’s not that much. If you could identify even a couple of dozen seats where perhaps there could be some kind of discussion.”

Ms Lucas even admitted she would consider serving Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary in Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet, but only if she had the freedom to really influence policy.

She said: “I don’t think you can answer that question unless you know what latitude you would have in the role and I would need to get the agreement of my party but – am I allowed to say this? – if there was the latitude to really put in place anti-fracking, anti-nuclear, and leave 80 per cent of fossil fuels in the ground, if you could really do something with it rather than just looking like a bit of Green window dressing then I think it would be irresponsible to not at least consider it.”

Ms Lucas hit the headlines earlier this month when it was revealed she had stepped down as patron of the Stop the War Coalition – an organisation with close links to Jeremy Corbyn.

Recent blog posts by the group, including one which claimed Paris had "reaped the whirlwind of western support for extremist violence in Middle East", were cited by Ms Lucas as reasons for her departure.

She agreed that her departure saw her being used as a “pawn to attack Jeremy Corbyn”.

She said: “The political mischief that was played around that was enormous. To be fair there were a couple of things that Stop the War said and positions they took that I didn’t agree with. My point was that not that I think they should agree with me but I hadn’t had the opportunity to have the debates with them before those things were put.”

Ms Lucas added: “It became very convenient to use that as a stick to beat Jeremy with which was a great shame.”

Turning to the Government’s environmental record in the wake of the Paris climate change summit, the Green MP said the Tories could show they were genuinely committed to reducing carbon emissions by canceling a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick.

She said: “That would be one way of demonstrating that the Government is taking seriously what the scientists are saying which is that we need to leave 80 per cent of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground and if they’re serious about that that would mean that we wouldn’t be expanding either Heathrow or Gatwick.”

Ms Lucas said recent cuts to support for solar energy and onshore wind farms, together with introducing the carbon levy to renewable energy, showed the Tories were in “an Alice in Wonderland world where words mean whatever ministers choose them to mean.”

She added: “There is just such an horrendous gulf between what they are saying and what they are doing and it really does feel like there’s two realities.”