The Green Party’s newly-elected leaders have vowed to boost the number of Green MPs in parliament and become the “real opposition” to the Conservative government.
Members of the party in England and Wales have elected councillors Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay as the new co-leaders, after Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley stood down.
“We’re determined to see more Greens elected in England and Wales,” said Mr Ramsay. “We’re here because we want to lead our party to success … to be the real opposition to this feeble Conservative government.”
The Green Party has only one MP, Caroline Lucas, but has three members on the London Assembly and around 400 councillors across England and Wales.
Ms Denyer pledged to get more Greens elected “at every level” of government, adding: “We are at a crucial moment in history, and it is clear that the other major political parties have failed to bring about the change that is necessary.”
With only one month to go before the crucial Cop26 climate summit of world leaders in Glasgow, Ms Denyer said she wanted the party to hold Boris Johnson’s government to account over its promises to address climate change.
She said: “We will use the opportunity of Cop26 to call out this lacklustre government on its lack of climate leadership and greenwashing.”
It comes as the prime minister said bolder commitments were needed from would leaders to make sure next month’s Cop26 “counts”. Mr Johnson tweeted: “We’ve see positive progress so far, but it isn’t enough.”
Mr Ramsay and Ms Denyer, a Bristol City councillor, were elected after receiving 44 per cent of the first preference votes and 62 per cent of the second round vote, the party announced on Friday. They beat Tamsin Omond and Amelia Womack, who came second.
“Our country is in crisis – pumps running out petrol, empty shelves in supermarkets and millions heading into winter fearing rising fuel bills, all worsened by our society’s addiction to fossil fuels,” said Mr Ramsay.
“More than ever we need strong Green voices to make the compelling case for a green transition, a fair transition,” he added.
Mr Ramsay and Ms Denyer said the party would continue to push for a Green New Deal – having outlined plans to invest £100bn a year on the transition to carbon-neutral economy and create new jobs.
The new leadership also promised to fight for the insulation of Britons’ homes, a public transport system built on clean energy and food production which is less intensive and more nature-friendly.
“We know voters trust us, we know they think we’re nice,” said Mr Ramsay, speaking after the result was announced on Friday.
“Now we must demonstrate that we’re a serious political force – that we get things done, and that we have a vision which no other party has and the plans to achieve it.”
The Scottish Greens have joined the SNP in the Scottish government after a power-sharing deal agreed in August saw co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater become government ministers.
However, the party has been accused of performing a “U-turn” on manifesto promises after it failed to bring forward a moratorium on halting large-scale waste incinerators north of the border.
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