Darren Johnson has welcomed the go ahead for the East-West Cycling Superhighway, but has raised doubts about the progress of the other superhighways and the safer junctions program.
Darren Johnson last May calling for improved cycling and safety measures in Lewisham.
Darren commented, “The go ahead for the East-West cycling superhighway is very welcome, as it will be a major contribution to make our streets safer for people who wish to cycle, but we now need swift action on the rest of London. A large section of this superhighway will not be finished until after 2016, along with around half of the Mayor’s superhighways and the majority of the work to create safer junctions. There are hundreds of dangerous junctions across all areas of London, but this Mayor will manage to finish ten by the time he leaves office.”]]>
The Green Party will be joining thousands of protesters across London this Saturday in a mass demonstration against the capital’s soaring house prices.
As London’s housing crisis continues to mount, a huge coalition of groups have united in calling for a complete rethink in the Mayor’s housing strategy which they say is driving up rental prices, increasing homelessness, and forcing people out of the city they call their home.
Tom Chance (right) and Green Assembly Member Jenny Jones (second from right) unveiling a new manifesto earlier this year that would cut public transport fees by 10%.
The demonstration comes as mounting evidence reveals the extent to which rocketing house prices are putting a squeeze on Londoner’s household income. House prices in the capital are now 18 times higher than average earnings whilst escalating rental prices mean that after paying rent the average Londoner is left with only half their income.
Tom Chance, Co-Chair of the London Green Party and the Green Party’s Spokesperson for Housing said:
“The Green Party believes a house should be a home to live in, not an asset for investors. Green councillors and London Assembly Members have worked with residents fighting the demolition of their homes to make way for luxury flats, and have exposed the role that policies like buy-to-let and help to buy have in stoking our housing crisis.
“That’s why the Green Party will be joining the march this Saturday calling for a new approach to managing London’s housing. We would introduce rent controls, increase the supply of affordable homes and speculation on housing, ensuring that everyone has access to secure, comfortable and affordable accommodation."]]>
New Feed-in-Tariff statistics published (23rd Jan 2014) on installed solar photovoltaics (PV) by the Department of Energy & Climate Change have shown that:
Jenny has sent a draft ‘Mayoral Decision’ she would like Boris Johnson to sign to set-up a Solar PV (Photovoltaic) Delivery Unit at City Hall. The proposal forms part of the budget process for 2015/16, and would allocate £210,000 to a unit which would initially focus on deploying solar PV panels on London schools and the GLA Group’s own estate, and also help set-up new community energy schemes.
London Assembly Member Jenny Jones said: “These latest figures are really disappointing as London’s rooftops have the potential to generate about a fifth of London’s annual electricity needs from solar energy.”
And unlike ‘fracking’, which Boris Johnson is an enthusiastic advocate, solar generated electricity avoids the risk of contaminating ground water, disruptive truck movements through local communities, the massive water requirements it needs, and the fact that it is just another fossil fuel that will accelerate climate change”
“The technology is here and so is the hunger from consumers, schools, businesses to maximise solar generated energy. However, without a decisive Mayoral intervention, London will continue to miss out and risks falling even further behind. It is essential that Boris Johnson sets up a Solar Delivery Unit to help schools and communities bust through the barriers and get thousands of new panels installed”]]>
The Green Party has called on Lambeth Council to stop using bailiffs in cases where residents in receipt of Council Tax Support (CTS) fall into arrears. Council Tax Support provides financial assistance to Council Tax payers on low incomes.
In a speech to Lambeth Council's Cabinet, Green councillor Scott Ainslie called for an urgent review of the policy regarding those who receive CTS who get into difficulty following the council’s cuts.
The policy of other London boroughs such as neighbouring Southwark, is not to send in bailiffs, or to levy excessive legal and court costs on those who receive CTS.
Lambeth Green Party meeting, November 2014. Jonathan Bartley, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Streatham, is pictured far right sitting on the table facing the camera, with Lambeth Green Councillor Scott Ainslie sitting alongside. Photograph courtesy of Noel Lynch.
The Green Party's call came as the Cabinet met and unanimously decided to continue its cuts to Council Tax Support in Lambeth.
A new report published last year showed Lambeth Council is topping the league table in London for penalising those who fall into arrears as a result of cuts to council tax support.
According to a report produced by two national charities, the Child Poverty Action Group and Zacchaeus 2000, in the first year of cutting council tax support Lambeth Council had:
The report highlighted that a claiming household in Lambeth could have an annual bill of £197 which would skyrocket to £634 because of Lambeth’s policies, making it far less likely that the debt will ever be collected.
A follow up Freedom of Information request at the end of last year showed that there were still thousands of claimants falling behind on payments, receiving court summons and being charged costs. Although the number of cases being referred to bailiffs was down, it was still higher than most boroughs and in stark contrast to neighbouring Southwark’s policy of not using bailiffs for CTS cases.
Green councillor Scott Ainslie said: “The way Lambeth’s cuts to Council Tax Support are being implemented is putting an unbearable burden on those who can least afford it. It appears to be more punitive than any other London borough. The approach is also self-defeating. When low-income residents are already trying to find the money to pay for the council’s cuts to their support, the summonses and unnecessary court charges are pushing residents further into hardship, and making collection even more unlikely.
“The receipt of a court summons is an intimidating experience that can have a severe impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of someone in a vulnerable situation. Lambeth Council should reverse its cuts to Council Tax Support. It should minimise court costs as other boroughs have done and refrain from using bailiffs in Council Tax Support cases.”]]>
The Green Party in London has seen an exceptional surge in membership with the record for the number of members joining in one day being surpassed twice in one week. The party now has over 8000 members meaning that 1 in 5 members of the Green Party of England and Wales is based in London.
The results of the YouGov poll for London, photograph from the London Green Party facebook page.
The surge came as the number of members of the combined UK Green Parties surpassed UKIP and the Liberal Democrats last Thursday.
The growing popularity of the Greens in London is also being reflected in the polls with YouGov’s latest survey putting the party comfortably ahead of both UKIP and the Liberal Democrats in the capital. The polling cements their position as London’s third biggest party and puts them in a strong position heading into May’s general election.
Co-Chair of the London Green Party Caroline Allen said:
“It is thrilling to be a part this major turning point in the history of the Green Party in London. The capital is really becoming a hotbed of support for the Party. The more that people have the chance to hear about our policies, the more they seem to like them. They’re appreciating that we are the party really fighting hard on the issues that matter to Londoners – providing affordable housing, tackling damaging air pollution, delivering a quality and affordable train service, and creating a fairer economy. People are realising that there is a different kind of politics that does represent them, it doesn't have to be about distant men in suits.”
Caroline’s Co-Chair Tom Chance said:
“The incredible rise in support for the Green Party both here in London and nationally is making Ofcom’s statement that the Greens are not a “major party” even more outrageous. With the other parties agreed on issues like austerity and road building, it's only right that the alternative voice of the Green Party is heard. That’s why I am proud that so many members of the London Green Party will be out in force today, supporting the demonstration taking place at Westminster calling for a Green place in the TV debates.”]]>
An investigation by the BBC London ‘Inside Out’ programme has raised concerns that fast rising prices in London “are making the right-to-buy scheme increasingly vulnerable to exploitation”. The Audit Commission annual report (October 2014) reported a 400% increase in right-to-buy fraud in London. The government is currently offering discounts of £100,000 to attract even more buyers in London.
Green Assembly Member Darren Johnson, photograph courtesy of Kaihsu Tai.
This follows figures being released last year which showed the sale of council homes has grown faster than the building of new ones in many areas of London. For example, 415 council homes were sold under Right to Buy in Southwark in the previous two years, but only 42 replacement homes had been started in the same period. Councils are required to use the receipts from Right to Buy sales to build new homes within three years.
Darren commented, “Right to Buy is a disaster for London. A lot of council homes sold today will be in the hands of private landlords tomorrow. Across London, almost five thousand council homes have been lost in the past two years, with fewer than one in six replacement homes started using the receipts.
“Fewer low rent homes will drive more low paid people out of London. The Mayor of London should lobby for it to be scrapped, and for councils to be allowed to borrow to invest in building many more.”]]>
The move comes after Labour in Lambeth refused to provide monitors, deleted references to air pollution deaths and impact on schools from council motion.
Lambeth Green Party has been chosen by Mapping for Change to mobilise schools in Lambeth, and undertake Air Quality Mapping projects. It is one of just four groups selected for £1,000 of funding, after communities applied from across London.
Lambeth Green Party will use the award to support local schools and raise awareness of the dangerous levels of pollution in the area and the damage it is doing to health. The Greens want to build capacity within schools so that they can take on their own monitoring projects and integrate them as part of the school curriculum.
Brixton Road A23, is expected to exceed annual limits for 2015 in the coming days and exceeded the limits the most times in 2014. Photograph courtesy of Oxyman.
It comes after Lambeth Council refused to contact schools about the air quality risk, and deleted references to over 100 estimated deaths, after a council motion was tabled by the Green Party in July. The council faced accusations of a ‘cover up’. The Green Party responded by writing to 63 local schools in the borough.
Lambeth has some of the worst air pollution in London. Dozens of Lambeth schools lie within 150 metres of roads carrying 10,000 vehicles a day, whose children are at risk from air pollution. Lambeth also incinerates its waste, effecting many outside the borough.
Gulnar Hasnain, air quality campaigner for the Lambeth Green Party and Parliamentary Candidate for Vauxhall said: “Brixton Road managed to exceed the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) hourly limit value more times than any other site in London last year, and is expected to exceed the EU annual limit for ALL of 2015 in the next few days."
“Labour-run Lambeth Council has deliberately withheld important information from residents about air quality and the risk that pollution poses to children at Lambeth schools. We want to empower schools to be able to build the evidence to push for more measures to tackle the dangerous levels of air pollution.”
The news comes as the Mayor’s three month consultation over plans for an ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) in central London from 2020 closed. Greens are pushing for more action to tackle poor air quality, such as a an expansion of the ULEZ, 20mph limits to smooth traffic flow, large scale ‘greening’ initiatives and low-emission buses on key routes. At times of high air pollution, schools are also being advised to keep vulnerable children away from polluted areas during air pollution ‘episodes’. Keeping pupils' away from polluted areas during the school day could reduce the number of asthma attacks and even avoid some developing potentially lifelong lung damage.]]>
Results from the air pollution monitor station which the Government has previous described the most polluted hotspot in the UK has shown a sharp decline in the number of times it is breaking the European legal limit. The Marylebone Road monitor appears to have dropped from 122 hours of bad air of NO2 in 2012, down to 12 exceedances for 2014. Whilst these figures on the Kings College run network have yet to be ratified by DEFRA, the trend appears to be out of line with much smaller declines in most other local monitoring stations.
The Marylebone Road figures contrast with the 170 hourly exceedences shown at Euston Road, which is a mile down the same road.
Darren Johnson has raised questions over whether the Mayor has been targeting clean air measures at this particular monitoring station given it is the main one used by the Government to report to the European Commission.
Darren Johnson said:
"It is baffling that Marylebone Road appears so much less polluted than Euston Road, when it is basically the same traffic going a further mile up the same road. Is the Mayor doing everything he can to reduce the figures at the Marylebone Road site just so that he can tell the European Commission that London is now far less polluted? That might help avoid large fines but if it’s only the bits around the monitoring sites that are getting cleaner rather than London as a whole then it’s not solving the problem.”
“If the Mayor can get pollution levels down at this monitoring site why isn't he Mayor pulling out all the stops to reduce air pollution across all of London? We are told by the Mayor and Government that they are doing all they can, but here is an example of them making a big difference in just a couple of years in order to avoid paying European Commission fines. If only the Mayor had that kind of determination to end the estimated 7,000 premature deaths a year in the rest of London."]]>
Responding to the Mayor of London’s public consultation on setting up the ULEZ, London Assembly Member Jenny Jones has called for the Mayor to allocate all the money raised from the existing Low Emission Zone to help boroughs who want to join the proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone. In 2013/14, there was a net surplus of £4,358,688 raised by the London wide LEZ. The public consultation ends today.
Natalie Bennett, Darren Johnson, Jenny Jones, Shahrar Ali and Noel Lynch photographed after securing cross party support for the Low Emission Zone.
Nearly half of London’s main road network will still be over the legal limits in 2020. All of the inner London boroughs will have more than 70% of their main road network over the legal limit for NO2, despite having to originally reach compliance by 2010.
Jenny Jones said:
“The Mayor’s proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone needs to be sooner, stronger and spread further. The Mayor is excluding many London boroughs who have indicated an interest in joining the zone in 2020 and leaving large numbers of Londoners exposed to damaging levels of NO2. There are over 7,000 premature deaths in London each year linked to air pollution exposure, but there is still a reluctance by this Mayor to take the necessary action to protect people’s health. Air pollution is not confined to the boundaries of the congestion charge area, nor should the Ultra Low Emission Zone.”
”Transport for London is going to be left with a major problem in 2016, if the current Mayor continues with this watered down version of the ULEZ and the next Mayor changes everything. Motorists need time to adapt to the changes in pollution rules, but Boris Johnson is failing to generate a political consensus on the tough action required. Unless he starts listening and addressing the weaknesses with his approach, then the proposed scheme could unravel in over a year’s time.”]]>
According to the Met Office provisional figures, 2014 is officially the warmest year in the Central England area (which covers London) since official records began over 350 years ago and marks a year punctuated by broken weather records. 2014 started with a record wet and stormy winter with the Thames Barrier closing an unprecedented 50 times, a driest September and warmest Halloween. The latest scientific predications give global economies 15 years to transform to low carbon economies, in order to have any chance of avoiding the worst of irreversible climate change.
Jenny Jones pictured earlier this year speaking out against fracking.
London Assembly Member Jenny Jones recently warned Boris Johnson that in her role as Chair of the London Economy Committee, big businesses are telling her that climate change is the biggest risk to their business. Jenny urged the Mayor to attend and show personal leadership at the forthcoming “crunch” UN climate change summit taking place in Paris, December 2015. The Mayor replied that “I have not focussed on the Paris summit yet, and whether it’s crucial to be there” 6
Jenny Jones said:
“The time for the buck passing is over. We are running out of time to avert a climate catastrophe and Boris Johnson should be at the forefront, advocating and delivering carbon reduction programmes on the scale needed, as well as zero carbon energy generating technologies like solar energy”
“Instead, Boris Johnson criticises wind farms, ignores the scientific consensus on global warming and promotes climate sceptic views. His backing of aviation expansion and fracking can only lead to one thing and that is the acceleration of global warming.
“For London this means far more severe weather events such as floods, droughts, killer heatwaves and an unstable global economy”]]>
Readings taken at Oxford Street and Putney High Street air quality monitoring station have shown that they are the first location in London to breach annual legal limits for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2). NO2 is deemed to be harmful to human health and the EU permits an annual limit of no more than 18 hours per annum at the concentration of >200ug/m3 . On Monday 5th January they exceeded this annual limit by at least 1 hour.
London streets once again have broken annual legal limits for pollution within a month of the new year.
The Government is currently trying to remove the requirement for local authorities to run air pollution monitors similar to those in central London and Putney, so that this information will not be available to Londoners in future years.
Jenny Jones said:
“Oxford Street and Putney High Street are a disgraceful example of the Government and Mayor’s failure to take responsibility for air pollution. As a result even more people will die prematurely and suffer worse asthma and other respiratory conditions. The Government’s attempt to cover this up and hide the truth from local people must be resisted.”
“A recent court case means that the Government can’t delay meeting the legal deadlines for nitrogen dioxide and the Mayor needs to rewrite his Air Quality Strategy to include effective new measures that can clean up our air sooner rather than later. He must also drop all his road building plans which will increase traffic and air pollution in London.”
Jenny Jones has also advocated the following emergency and long-term measures to tackle air pollution:
Emergency measures in the run up and during dangerous pollution episodes:
• New Green Party policy would save rail passengers hundreds of pounds every year
• Zone 1-4 London Travelcard users would benefit from savings of nearly £200 per year
• Green Party is the only party pledging to bring the railways back into public hands
As passengers are hit by yet another New Year's price hike, the Green Party has announced that it would introduce an immediate cut in the cost of rail fares of up to 12%.
Ticket prices across the network will increase by an average of 2.2% this New Year. The planned rise is above the level of inflation and follows successive years of ticket price increases. The cost of rail travel is now increasing at three times the rate of average wages, leaving many passengers out of pocket.
Arguing that action is urgently needed to ease the financial burden being placed on public transport users in Britain, the Green Party has said it would introduce an immediate cut in rail and bus fares by increasing the investment in public transport paid for by the government by £1.7bn per year.
Under the plans announced today, the Green Party would cut the cost of an annual Zone 1-4 London Travelcard by £184 and reduce the cost of a Zone 1-2 tube ticket from £2.80 to £2.60. Passengers traveling between Crystal Palace and London Bridge – one of the capital’s busiest routes – would benefit from savings of up to £115 per year.
London Green Party Co-Chair and parliamentary candidate for Lewisham West and Penge Tom Chance said:
“The way the rail network is being run purely for the benefit of private corporations clearly isn’t delivering for the public. Just as with rocketing house prices and escalating food bills, passengers feel like they’re being made to climb a mountain that seems to go on for ever whilst being loaded up with more baggage with every step they take.
“Rather than continuing with business-as-usual and allowing ticket prices to escalate, the Green Party is committed to developing solutions that will make rail travel affordable for everyone. Our first act would be to increase investment in our railways – a step our government could take today to give passengers a much needed financial break. We would then work to bring the entire network back into public hands, making sure that it delivers a quality and affordable service to passengers.”
In demonstration against the planned ticket rise, a national protest is today taking place across the railway network calling for the railways to be brought back into public hands. The “Public Ownership of Railways Protest” will take place from 07:00 to 19:00 at stations across the country with demonstrations in London organised for King’s Cross, St. Pancras, and Waterloo stations. To coincide with the demonstrations, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas will also be presenting her Private Members Bill calling for the railways to be brought back into public ownership to parliament.]]>
Jean Lambert talking at an ENAR event, calling for the election of progressive MEPs to deal with racism.
The European Parliament today adopted a resolution with a large majority calling for the Palestinian state to finally be recognised. Immediately in response to the vote, Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London said:
‘The European Parliament has today joined the growing international momentum for the recognition of the Palestinian state. The Greens/EFA group has long supported a two state solution and views the recognition of Palestine as an important step towards a peaceful solution of the Middle East conflict, which puts pressure on both sides to this end.
‘For too long, Palestine has received mixed messages from Europe so I also welcome that MEPs supported a Green proposal to set up a 'parliamentarians for peace' initiative with deputies from Europe, Israel and Palestine.’]]>
Charlie Kiss, who has been selected by his local Green Party to stand in the Islington South and Finsbury constituency for the general election in May next year, appears, so far, to be the only out trans man standing in the upcoming General Election.
He will stand against the Labour Party incumbent, Emily Thornberry.
Charlie, now aged 49, started politically campaigning when at the age of 17 he joined the Greenham Common Women’s peace camp opposing the planned siting of cruise nuclear missiles. He identified as a lesbian at this time. After leaving Greenham common, he started a career in the printing industry which he reported had poor conditions for workers and a culture of significant sexism and racism. Later things improved when he started work at Calverts, a print co-operative. It was here that he realised that he needed to properly medically transition and so he started hormonal treatment in 2002 and, soon after, surgery.
Charlie Kiss (left), Natalie Bennett (leader), Caroline Russell and Ernestas Jegorovas (right) outside Kings Cross St. Pancras station after announcing local council and european candidates earlier this year.
Charlie Kiss said; "The two trans women politicians in Europe are both in the Green Party. It seems that I am another first for the Green Party which is to be the first trans man to stand for the UK parliament. However, this, and the small number of women in parliament, is woefully inadequate and not something for our country to be proud of. I remain committed to the feminist cause."
"The Green Party recognises the importance of being inclusive and consistently strives to improve the gender imbalance in representative politics. Our leadership voted in by the membership demonstrates this. Brighton council, a minority Green Party-run council has excelled in its work for the local LGBT community and especially with the local trans community, carrying out consultations and making changes. For example, it has commenced trans swimming sessions and allows people to use different titles on forms which is very helpful especially when transitioning."
The first time Kiss stood for office was when he stood as a local council election candidate for Highbury East in Islington.
He continued; “I thought it was better to be upfront about it, so I explained that I had transitioned from female to male on all the election leaflets that were delivered. LGBT struggles are close to my heart and I will always support equality for all."
"I recognise that home affordability, homelessness, low pay, discrimination and mental illness are all serious issues affecting many non LGBT people, but LGBT people, and especially trans and gender variant people, suffer these in disproportionate numbers.”]]>
The demolition of the Earl’s Court exhibition centres are due to commence over the Christmas period. London Assembly Member Darren Johnson has consistently objected to this redevelopment proposal and has criticised the Mayor of London’s for backing the demolition of the Earls Court Exhibition Centres without properly considering the full economic, cultural and environmental impacts. The Exhibition Centres are worth an estimated £1bn to London’s economy and attract one and a half million visitors each year.
Darren Johnson with protestors outside Earl's Court exhibition centre.
Darren Johnson said “Boris Johnson’s decision to approve the demolition of a national institution which hosted some of the greatest names in modern music, top events and exhibitions is simply disgraceful”
“How can the Mayor claim to be champion of the London economy and making it attractive to foreign investment when he has backed the demolition of one of London iconic shop fronts for the capital’s and UK businesses”
“What’s worse, ordinary Londoners will not reap the benefits of this corporate land grab, only the shareholders, the super-rich and investor landlords”]]>
Photograph courtesy of Nigel Cox.
Government figures published today show that the loss of a private tenancy accounted for 38 per cent of homeless cases in London, the single biggest cause, between July and September this year. The number of Londoners living in temporary accommodation has rose to 45,810, an 8 per cent increase on the same period in 2013.
The number of people accommodated outside their local authority area also rose by 29 per cent to 14,220.
Darren Johnson commented “These figures show that private tenants urgently need more security, rent controls and an end to benefit cuts. A growing number of families are finding themselves trapped in a cycle of insecure tenancies, sofa surfing, living out of B&Bs, or having to move out of London altogether.”]]>
Young people who completed a ‘workfare’ scheme set-up by the Mayor of London were half as likely to be in paid employment compared to those who didn’t complete it, an evaluation published by the Government reveals. The DWP found that 26 per cent of people who completed it were in employment by the end, compared to 44 per cent of those who refused to take part, and 60 per cent of those who dropped out midway through.
Jenny Jones has rebuked the Mayor for spending £12m on a scheme forcing the unemployed to undertake "pointless and unpaid work" instead of spending their time searching for work.
Despite this, 1,290 people were sanctioned (lost their benefits), mostly for refusing to participate, which also meant they lost access to Jobcentre training services. Two thirds of participants said the compulsory work experience didn’t leave them with enough time to look for a job.
Responding to the news Jenny Jones AM said:
“The Government and Mayor have quietly slipped out a report that shows workfare doesn’t work. He has spent £12m forcing thousands of young people to undertake pointless and unpaid work, when they would have been better off spending the time looking for a job. What’s worse, many young people who did just that had their benefits taken away, punishing them for boycotting a failed scheme.
“I hope the Mayor now takes on board the London Assembly’s call to drop sanctions and concentrate on meaningful support for young people struggling to find a job.”]]>
As a result of not acting earlier on "the invisible killer" a generation is at risk of having its health "seriously impaired". This is the conclusion of the House of Common’s Environment Audit Committee ‘Action on Air Quality Report’ released today. To tackle air pollution and meet Nitrogen Dioxide legal limits as soon as possible it recommends:
The latest estimates of premature deaths as a result of vehicle derived emissions (from Particulates and Nitrogen Dioxide) in London in 2020 will be 6,851.
Jenny Jones pictured with co-deputy leader of the Green Party Shahrar Ali campaigning for cleaner air in London.
London Assembly Member Jenny Jones said:
“The Mayor’s delays and dithering on combating air pollution in London means that even more people will die prematurely. Action must be focussed around the thousand schools in London that are within 150 metres of a road carrying 10,000 vehicles per day and where children are disproportionately affected.”
“The Mayor’s Ultra Low Emission Zone proposals will achieve too little, its coverage will too limited and it will happen far too late. The Mayor must urgently rethink this policy by toughening it up, letting boroughs opt in to widen its coverage, and bringing it forward from 2020. We want it sooner, stonger, bigger.”
Jenny Jones has also advocated the following emergency and long-term measures to tackle air pollution:
Emergency measures in the run up and during dangerous pollution episodes:
The recent "Green Surge" has received a great deal of publicity, as more people turn to the Green Party looking for and finding "a fresh and positive message". Image fromLondon Green Party facebook page.
Membership of the London branch of the Green Party has doubled in the past year and now soared past the 5000 mark. This growth in membership reflects a surge in Green support across the country which has seen national membership rise to over 27,000 with the party also consistently polling neck-and-neck, or increasingly above, the Liberal Democrats in the polls.
The public’s growing appetite for Green policies will be met at the ballot box on 7 May 2015 when every voter in London will have the chance to vote Green. Not only is support for the party spreading across the capital but voters in Holborn and St. Pancras will also have the opportunity to vote for the party’s leader and long-time Camden resident and local campaigner Natalie Bennett. Other high profile Green candidates including the party’s deputy leaders Amelia Womack (Camberwell and Peckham) and Shahrar Ali (Brent Central) are also standing in their local London seats.
The party will be seeking to build on their strong electoral performance in the May 2014 local and European elections when they doubled their number of councillors in the city and successfully re-elected their MEP Jean Lambert to the European Parliament. At that election, Greens finished second only to Labour in four of London's boroughs - Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, and Lambeth - leaving them in a strong position to challenge sitting MPs at the polls next spring.
London Green Party Co-Chair and candidate for Lewisham West and Penge Tom Chance said:
“This is a landmark for the London party. It’s a clear sign that people are becoming increasingly tired and disillusioned by the politics of business-as-usual and are looking for a new, credible, distinctive voice. Whether it’s on fixing our broken housing market to provide more affordable homes for Londoners, reining-in the huge pay inequalities that divide our city, or protecting our health and green spaces from the threat of air pollution and climate change – voters are finding a fresh and positive messages in the Greens and they seem to like what they hear.”
Co-Chair of the London Green Party Caroline Allen said:
“The fantastic thing about our rise in membership is that it shows what huge appetite there is out in London for getting involved in politics and building a better society and future for this great city. Every new member that joins us is helping to spread the message even further, encouraging new supporters to come on-board. That’s an incredibly exciting feeling to be a part of and we want to say a big thank you to all the volunteers and party members that are working to bring the Green Surge to London."]]>
The Green Party will take part in a national demonstration this Saturday calling for the East Coast Mainline to remain in public hands and protected from privatisation.
East Coast Mainline has flourished under public ownership. Photograph courtesy of Roger Geach.
Mass protests have been organised the length and breadth of the East Coast route in response to the announcement made this Monday that the network, which has been in public ownership since 2009, is to be sold-off to Virgin Trains and Stagecoach.
This is despite the fact that, under public ownership, the network has outperformed all other railway lines and delivered the highest levels of customer service.
Pledging her party’s support for the protests, London Green Party Councillor and party spokesperson for local transport Caroline Russell said:
“It demonstrates just how ideologically committed to the selling-off of our vital public services this government is that it would take the best performing railway network out of the safety of public hands and throw it into the lion’s den of privatisation. The only people this decision will benefit are the shareholders at Virgin Trains and Stagecoach. Once again it is the public that will lose-out.
“The Green Party believes public services should be run for the benefit of the people that use them, not to make a profit for the minority who happen to own them. Only the Greens are committed to restoring the railways to public ownership and ensuring that passengers are provided with the transport service that they deserve at a price they can afford. That’s why I am proud to stand today with protesters up and down the country calling on the government to listen to their very simple message: don’t jeopardise a high quality public service just to turn a quick profit.”
The “Save the East Coast Mainline” demonstration in London takes place this Saturday 6th December from 11am to 1pm outside King’s Cross Station.]]>