Green Party’s European Elections Campaign Kicks Off: 'We Are The Cure To Brexit Division'

“We are ready for the best election we have ever had," party leaders say in wake of climate protests and local election gains.

The Green Party has launched a bold pitch for the pro-EU vote in the upcoming European elections, with its co-leader declaring they are a “cure” to Britain’s Brexit division.

Sian Berry vowed to take the fight to Jeremy Corbyn as she launched her party’s campaign in the Labour leader’s Islington constituency on Wednesday.

Berry pledged Green MEPs would, if elected on May 23, be a strong voice for a so-called people’s vote and fight for pan-EU investment in green energy, often referred to as a “green new deal”.

The party is riding high from a 270% increase in the number of Green councillors at last week’s local elections, winning seats in Brexit heartlands such as Sunderland – as well as in its heartlands of Brighton and Sheffield.

Berry, who leads the party alongside Jonathan Bartley, also took aim at Nigel Farage and his new Brexit Party, which is making a naked pitch for the Eurosceptic vote.

“The Brexit project, led by Nigel Farage, has capitalised on the neglect of our communities and unleashed the darkest elements on to our nation, bringing them dangerously close to the mainstream,” she said.

“The far right is a sickness in our politics that the Greens, full of hope and with a vision of our future that has faith in our best instincts, we are the cure.”

She declared the Tories were “all abroad the Brexit bus even as the wheels are falling off” while Labour, whose membership has aired frustration at the party’s failure to be more pro-EU, “won’t stand up for freedom of movement”, she said.

The Lib Dems, who are also poised to make big gains at the European elections are a huge surge in membership and votes in the town hall elections, Berry dismissed as the “co-architects of austerity” after their years in coalition with David Cameron’s Conservatives.

“The Greens are the most united, strongest pro-EU party on the ballot,” she said.

The local elections were a huge blow to the Conservatives, with Theresa May’s party losing some 1,263 seats, and the party bracing itself for a pummelling in the Euro vote.

Labour failed to make the progress expected of a party in opposition, losing control of six councils.

Sian Berry
Sian Berry

The Greens, meanwhile, gained 185 seats though this was eclipsed by the Lib Dems who netted 676 new councillors and snatched control of 11 councils, putting Vince Cable’s party in pole position to make gains in Europe.

With competition for the pro-remain vote fierce, most polls put Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party as the most likely winner.

But Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas, who also spoke at the launch, said the Greens were at “the strongest point the party has ever been at” and were “gathering with more hope than ever before” .

In a clear threat to Labour, Lucas said the Greens were making a direct appeal to the voters who mobilised at the 2017 general election as part of the so-called “youthquake”.

“We are saying, clearly and unequivocally, that Brexit is an unforgivable act of intergenerational betrayal,” she said.

Bartley, meanwhile, predicted the “Green wave”, which comes as the issue of climate change hits the headlines, will deliver results.

“We are ready for the best election we have ever had,” he said.

In a conscious echo of Tony Blair’s New Labour messaging, he added: “If you want a party that is tough on Brexit and tough on the causes of Brexit, vote Green.”

The launch event also saw a speech from the headline-grabbing Sheffield lord mayor Magid Magid, who will be the party’s MEP candidate in Yorkshire and the Humber.

He said: “What we know is that politics can and must change and, if we have learned anything from the current political climate, is that we must have the courage and the passion to do politics differently.

“People don’t want more of the same.”

Green co-leader Sian Berry
Green co-leader Sian Berry
Leon Neal via Getty Images

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