Any Progressive Alliance success at next month’s election will be down to Green Party candidates ‘showing leadership’, co-leader Jonathan Bartley has claimed.
At the launch of the Greens’ manifesto on Monday, Bartley and leadership colleague Caroline Lucas were asked what success on June 8 would look like.
“Despite the fact the Labour leader and Lib Dem leader did not respond to our letter [about a Progressive Alliance] at the start of the campaign, there is an insurrection going on,” said Bartley.
“In 30 seats around the country Green candidates have shown leadership and stood aside and if there are wins in those seats, it’ll be the Greens what won it, let’s be absolutely clear.”
Green candidates in several key marginal seats, including Chester and Ealing Central and Acton, stood aside and asked their supporters to back Labour’s candidates.
But the party has also accused both Labour and the Lib Dems of a ‘betrayal’, after they refused to get behind the Progressive Alliance as a full electoral pact.
Bartley added: “This election is the beginning, not the end. We’re looking at a system which is creaking under the strains.
“The system has not caught up. The Green Party is ahead of the curve. But it is clear that things are heading in the right direction. This is the start of a very important process and I am proud of the party for making that stand.”
Launching their 23-page manifesto, or ‘Green Guarantee’ at an office block for creative start up businesses in central London, Bartley and Lucas said their election pledges offered hope at a time of uncertainty.
Among their key pledges is offering the British public a ‘ratification referendum’ - a second vote on any final Brexit deal before leaving the EU.
Bartley said: “We live in the fifth richest country in the world. In such a country no renter should have to live in damp, cold, and neglected accommodation, no parent should have to compete with other parents to find their child a decent school, no one should have to wait ten hours in an emergency ward before getting the care and attention they need.
“Most importantly of all: no one should tell you that your voice doesn’t matter, that when it comes to the biggest decision this country has faced in generations, you will not get a say on whether, having seen what life outside the EU will look like, we should choose that future or choose to remain.
“The media and the old parties will tell you that there are only two options on the ballot paper at this election. That’s not true – and it is a disservice to our democracy.”
Lucas said Theresa May did not have a mandate ‘for the kind of Brexit she is pursuing’.
“I feel so let down by the fact that Labour has not been a rigorous opposition when it comes to Brexit,” she added.
“Essentially, they have allowed the government to have a blank cheque on a hard Brexit.”
The Greens did not publish a costings document alongside their manifesto - which also includes ending NHS privatisation and scrapping tuition fees - but said extra public spending would be paid for by a range of measures including a tax on the top 1% of earners, levies on financial transactions, and changes to corporation and inheritance tax.
You can read the full manifesto here.