This morning the Green Party elected me as its new leader – thank you to all of the members who voted, whether for me or others, taking part in choosing the future direction of the party. You can find my new leader’s website here.
I am honoured by the party’s support and very pleased to take on the responsibility of helping us all to move towards promoting our vision of a radical new economic and environmental vision for Britain and electing many more councillors, MEPs and MPs around the country.
I look forward to working with Cllr Will Duckworth, who has been elected as deputy leader. Throughout the campaign I’ve spoken often of the strength of the West Midlands model that has seen explosive growth in the number of councillors in the region, and I’m sure his experience of that will be invaluable.
I take the responsibility the party has given me extremely seriously and, as laid out in my plan for leadership (pdf), I have a concrete program of work to start on straight away on top of commitments like this weekend’s party conference, press work and the newly formed national executive.
I’d like to encourage the party to hold me to my election promises and my plan for leadership. After 100 days I hope members will go back to my plan and demand to know why I’ve fallen short, if I’ve not completed the ambitious tasks laid out there – and equally I’d like members to get on board and help with that ongoing project of turning the Green Party into a major political force in this country, ensuring that everyone in England and Wales has elected Green representatives.
As leader I intend to help the Greens become a truly national party, spreading the best practice of our work in the West Midlands, Norwich, Brighton, Bristol, Lewisham and elsewhere and helping us build a real support network so that local parties are not left to sink or swim but are given support to seize opportunities or given help when times are tough.
That will be building on the tremendous work already done, particularly over the past few years, and particularly by the outgoing
leader and deputy leader, Caroline Lucas and Adrian Ramsay. Caroline as our first MP will remain a huge national figure, and I look forward to working with her and learning from her experience. I’m also very much looking forward to visiting the growing Green groups around the country, from Brighton, where we are running our first council, to our strongholds of Norwich and Lancaster, the growing force of Solihull and the impressive Bristol party.
Through the campaign I put the case to Green Party members that we need to be more electorally ambitious, set out practical ways of meeting our ambitions by building a party fit for purpose and that we need to keep to our distinct radical politics – building committed Green voters as we grow rather than borrowing voters from other parties.
I’d like to thank everyone who helped in the campaign, voted in the election, the other candidates for leader, deputy and GPEx and the Electoral Returning Officer, Jon Nott, who had the unenviable responsibility of overseeing the first truly contested leadership election the Green Party has ever had. It was a hotly contested election with an unprecendented number of hustings, online questions, and voter engagement reflecting the important decision put before the party.
I shall see some of you at conference this weekend and I shall be travelling the country, getting to meet and listen to as many members as I can before the year is out. I look forward to working with you, would like to thank you once again for your confidence and let’s get on with the job of building that movement for radical change.