Greens: We Do Have Other Policies Too. Green Party Activists Will Be Celebrating the Election of Their First MP as They Gather in Birmingham for Their Conference This Week. but Leader Caroline Lucas Told Political Editor Jonathan Walker Her Victory Is Just the Start
Byline: Jonathan Walker
Green Party leader Caroline Lucas is returning to the West Midlands in triumph after becoming the party's first ever MP.
The politician, who grew up in Malvern, Worcestershire, made history after winning the seat of Brighton Pavilion in May's general election.
But the party conference, being held at Birmingham Conservatoire, will be a serious policy discussion as well as a celebration.
Activists will debate issues such as the party's policy towards high speed rail and Government spending cuts. And Dr Lucas won't be resting on her laurels.
Speaking to the Post in advance of the conference, she said the party's longterm goal was to be in Government. She said: "Green party members are in this party because they are serious about making changes.
"Greens are already in many governments right across Europe and beyond. "But we have an electoral system in this country which is set up to stop that happening. The system is extremely undemocratic."
As well as reforming the voting system, Greens would like to see the introduction of state funding to give smaller political parties a fair shot against their larger rivals. But she predicted that the decision of the Liberal Democrats to join a coalition Government led by the Conservatives would lead to a growth in support for the Greens.
Greens and Lib Dems have similar policies on some issues, such as reforming the voting system and not replacing Trident, and fight for the same votes in many constituencies.
But anger at Nick Clegg's decision to join the David Cameron government, and a belief that the Lib Dems have "sold out", would lead to former Lib Dem voters moving to the Greens, she said.
"The premise they went into the coalition on was that they would make the Tory government fairer. But we haven't seen that happen. There are a whole range of issues where people are recognising the Greens are an alternative." Despite Dr Lucas's Midland links, the party doesn't have a strong presence here. It received 6.2 per cent of the vote in the European elections in 2009, less than the BNP, and despite having councillors in Herefordshire, Malvern Hills and Solihull, it has never come close to winning a Parliamentary seat.
Winning in Brighton could provide a springboard for gaining seats in other parts of the country, Dr Lucas said.
"Once you get the first person elected it gets through the barrier of people think-k ing that it can't happen."
The Greens also had high hopes of winning Norwich South during May's general election, but the seat went to the Liberal Democrats.
"To an extent we suffered in Norwich, where we thought we would get a second MP, from the bounce Nick Clegg got. …