Green Party leader Natalie Bennett insists Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership victory will benefit, not harm, her party’s support across the country.
Speaking to The Huffington Post UK from the TUC Conference in Brighton this afternoon, Ms Bennett brushed off claims thousands of Green Party supporters would be attracted by Mr Corbyn’s anti-austerity message.
Ms Bennett, who faced criticism during the General Election campaign for a series of below-par media performances, argued her party offered the “complete package” for voters concerned about the environment and living standards.
During Labour’s leadership election, almost 2,000 people who had signed up to vote were banned from taking part after they were discovered to be Green members or supporters.
This afternoon, Ms Bennett was defiant over claims her party faced an electoral squeeze.
When asked if she feared losing votes to Mr Corbyn, she replied: “No, I don’t think so. What it will actually do it helps to make more people take a look at us because our arguments are being put on a much broader field.
She added: “The whole nature of British politics is shifting and we’ve been occupying a very large space on our own and saying these are the solutions we need and its not always easy to get traction with that.”
Ukip leader Nigel Farage claimed last month there would “no point” voting Green if Mr Corbyn victory won the Labour leadership.
He said: “Once Corbyn has won there is almost no point voting Green in Britain. Almost no point at all. They’ve got their man – North London, bicycles, non-drinker, all that sort of stuff.”
Ms Bennett called that analysis “absolutely wrong” and claimed the Greens had “been leading the way” on issues such as anti-austerity for “some time”.
She said: “Future historians may well look back and say that this is the start of the end of neo-liberal England. I say England because I don’t think Scotland or Wales have ever really been neo-liberal.
“This is politics coming our way, that’s great news and we have a unique offering. We offer the joint package that says we have to ensure that nobody in our society fears not being able to out food on the able or put a roof over their head, while we all collectively live within the environmental limits of our one fragile planet.”
When asked about the 1,900 Green supporters or members banned from voting in the Labour leadership election, Ms Bennett said she did not fear an exodus from her party.
She said: “They were Green members who wanted to influence the direction of the Labour Party. That doesn’t mean they are leaving the Green party. If they signed up as supporters for the Labour Party it doesn’t mean they’ve left the Green Party.”
The Green Party won just one seat in the 2015 General Election – Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion.