Greens launch election campaign looking to increase Westminster presence

The Green Party of England and Wales has launched its General Election campaign as it seeks to boost its representation at Westminster in the poll on July 4.

– Who are the party’s leaders?

Unlike the other main parties competing in the election, under their constitution the Greens can have two co-leaders.

General Election campaign 2024
Co-leader Carla Denyer speaking during the Greens’ election campaign launch (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Since 2021, they have been Carla Denyer – a former Bristol city councillor who has worked as an engineer in the renewable energy industry – and Adrian Ramsay, who currently leads the MCS Charitable Foundation which seeks to promote low carbon technologies.

– What is the party hoping to achieve in the election?

While it is aiming to field candidates in every seat in England and Wales (and the Scottish Greens are also hoping to stand in every seat there), it openly acknowledges it is concentrating efforts on four key target constituencies – in the hope it can quadruple its current tally.

General Election campaign 2024
Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay (Jonathan Brady/PA)

They include Brighton Pavilion which has been held for the party since 2010 by Carol Lucas – the Greens’ best known figure – who is now standing down. Sian Berry, a former co-leader, is hoping to replace her.

In addition, they hold high hopes of taking Bristol Central, a newly-created constituency where Ms Denyer is standing, Waveney Valley, another new seat where Mr Ramsay is the candidate, and Hertfordshire North.

– What are their policies?

There is a big focus on traditional Green issues such as tackling climate change and protecting the environment, with a commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions as quickly as possible and new legislation to “protect and restore the natural world”.

General Election campaign 2024
Caroline Lucas who is standing down after 14 years as a Green MP (Jonathan Brady/PA)

But as Labour has tacked towards the centre, the Greens have also sought to outflank them from the left in the hope of pushing them into adopting more radical positions, should Sir Keir Starmer gain power on July 4.

That includes raising taxes, reversing the “creeping privatisation” of the NHS, and building tens of thousands of new council houses and ending no fault evictions.

– What are their prospects?

Recent opinion polls suggest the Greens are currently in fifth place, behind both Reform UK and the Liberal Democrats, with their support running at around 6%.

However, they have been boosted by a strong showing in local elections on May 2, when they picked up council seats in some areas with strong Muslim populations – suggesting they are benefiting from unhappiness at Labour’s stance on the conflict in Gaza.

– What do their opponents say?

Labour former cabinet minister Lord Mandelson has warned they are in danger of becoming a “dustbin” for disgruntled “hard leftists” following controversial comments from some activists over Gaza.