The Greens' co-leader thinks she'll be the party's second MP
Carla Denyer has claimed she will become the Green Party’s second ever MP at the next general election. The Green Party co-leader made the claim in an interview with Left Foot Forward at the party’s spring conference.
Denyer is the Greens’ candidate for the Bristol West constituency (or Bristol Central if new boundaries are in operation at the point of the next election). The seat – currently held by Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire – is the among the top targets for the Green Party. In 2019, the Greens came second, receiving almost 25% of the vote.
Claiming things are looking “really positive” in the parliamentary campaign, Denyer says that there “seem to be lots of people contacting me and telling us on the doorstep that they voted for Labour last time and they’re voting for us this time”. She acknowledges that there are “still a lot of people who are undecided”, and that there are “a lot of people who really like what the Greens have to say but they are currently a maybe because they have not yet been sufficiently reassured that they can safely vote Green and there’s no risk of letting the Tories in.”
But according to Denyer, that argument is getting easier to make. She points to the fact that the Greens are now the largest party on Bristol City Council following a by-election victory and that 17 out of the 20 Councillors representing wards within the parliamentary constituency are now Greens. Denyer argues that it is “really easy to reassure people who think that they need to vote Labour to keep the Tories out”, because “there literally are no Tories here”.
Making that case requires “spending a lot of time knocking on doors, speaking to voters one to one and delivering persuasive literature that lets people that already know they agree with the Green Party know that they can safely vote for the Greens in Bristol West or Bristol Central and they’ve got a brilliant chance of getting Bristol’s first Green MP”. But Denyer also says that the probability of a Labour victory at the next election opens new arguments for the Greens. Putting an argument to voters, she says: “Would you rather have Labour in complete control with Starmer able to bring in whatever policies he wants, relatively unchallenged? Or would you rather have a Labour government that is being pulled in the right direction, to be stronger on social policy and on environmental policy by a few more Green MPs?”
The Greens have only ever got one MP elected – Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion.
Despite these challenges, Denyer is nonetheless confident. When asked whether she will be the first Green Party MP in Bristol, she answers simply: “Yes”.
The next election will reveal whether that is well founded confidence or hubris. Winning the parliamentary seat will be a tall order, requiring the Greens to overturn a near 30,000 vote Labour majority. But with increasing numbers of voters turning to the Greens in Bristol, and some opinion polls putting the party on as much as 10% of the vote nationally, there is a growing sense that it might just happen.
Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward
Image credit: Matthew Philip Long – Creative Commons
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