Green Party leadership race kicks off

Over 50,000 members will have a say in picking the party's next leader or co-leader.

Green Party activists standing with a party banner

The Green Party election process for the next leader or co-leaders of the party has begun today, after co-leaders Cllr Jonathan Bartley and Sian Berry AM announced they were standing down early.

Co-leader Jonathan Bartley stood down earlier this month to spend more time working on building progressive alliances in UK politics, which triggered an election for new leadership. He was followed soon after by Sian Berry, who quit in a row over alleged transphobia from one of the party’s new spokespeople, Shahrar Ali. Ali ran for the leadership role last year, and has denied allegations of transphobia.

Under the party’s constitution, individuals can put themselves forward or two people can stand together in a bid to be co-leaders. Bartley and Berry have been co-leaders since 2018.

Nominations have opened today with candidates having three weeks to declare their intention to run. There are three people in the leadership team, meaning that there is likely to be a deputy leadership vacancy if only one person secures the leadership.

The Green Party also operates gender balancing rules for its leadership roles, which have been criticised for potentially undermining women’s representation.

Members will have the opportunity to vote for their ‘next generation’ of leadership from 31 August until the ballot closes on 21 September with results set to be announced soon after. 

Bartley said: “I am so proud of the democratic nature of our party and the leadership vote is a big part of that. I’d like to see as many members as possible engaged in this process because this is the person or people who are going to take us a significant way towards the next General Election where we are focused on increasing our representation in Parliament. 

“We’ve shown ourselves to be a credible political force and I’m so excited to see who our members choose to lead us to the next stage. I feel confident there are going to be some fantastic candidates making up our new generation of leaders.”

Bartley remains in place until 1 August, his co-leader Sian Berry will then become acting leader until the outcome of the election is known. 

2020 leadership contender Cllr Rosi Sexton has ruled herself out of the contest for leader. Other possible contenders who may be urged to run include (in alphabetical order), 2020 leadership candidate Shahrar Ali, long-standing Kirklees councillor Andrew Cooper, former Green Party Lord Mayor of Bristol Cleo Lake, former deputy leadership candidate Rashid Nix, newly-elected London Assembly member Zack Polanski, deputy leader Amelia Womack, and other former deputy leadership candidates.

Former South East Green MEP Alexandra Phillips has told LFF she will not be running for leader.

UPDATE: Lancashire fracking campaigner Tina Rothery and former Labour councillor Martin Hemingway declared they will stand for the Green Party leadership over the weekend on a joint ticket.

Over 50,000 Green Party members will have a vote in the race, conducted using a preferential voting system.

The Greens are currently polling at around 5%, after making major gains in England’s council elections in May.

Green Party member? We want to hear your views and news on the race. Get in touch: [email protected]

Josiah Mortimer is co-editor of Left Foot Forward.

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