Caroline Lucas, the leader of the Green Party has announced that she will not be seeking re-election after the end of her second term. The Brighton and Hove MP feels that the time is right to step aside in order to broaden opportunities for those in the Green Party.
Lucas said: “I'm hugely honoured to have served as the first Leader of the Green Party and I'm proud that during the four years of my term, we've moved Green politics forward to a higher level, with the Party by far the most influential it has ever been.
“We've seen significant breakthroughs, not only in Brighton & Hove, with our first seat at Westminster and our first ever local council, but nationally, with further breakthroughs onto new Councils in the recent local elections, which were among the most successful we've ever had, as well as establishing ourselves as the third party, ahead of the LibDems, in the elections for London Mayor.
“I look forward to continuing to do all I can in my very demanding role as the MP for Brighton Pavilion, representing and helping my constituents in Brighton and defending them against the Coalition Government's disastrous economic policies and its refusal to accept its environmental and social responsibilities.
“I will now also be able to work more on the political frontline, putting the Green case for change in Parliament and in all circles of national political debate.”
The news of Lucas’ departure will be greeted with sadness by the solar industry which benefitted from her support throughout the turbulent revisions of the feed-in tariff scheme. Lucas was vocal in her lobbying of Government, condemning the “ill-advised plan to review solar feed-in tariffs,” and championed the industry as a green employer.
Cllr Darren Johnson, London Assembly Member, said, “Caroline has made a huge impact in her time as Green Party Leader and has helped shift Green politics from the margins to the mainstream of British political life.
“She will be an extremely hard act to follow but this is an ideal time to allow new talent to come forward.”
Jenny Jones, London Assembly Member and recent Green Mayoral Candidate added, “The Green Party has made some massive breakthroughs in the past two years, since having Caroline as our Leader, in Parliament, in Brighton and most recently in London, where we are now the third party behind the Conservatives and Labour.
“Caroline's decision not to seek re-election at this point is entirely in keeping with Green principles: it's a strong move, allowing other talented people to come through and to take the Green Party even further forward. She has set a superb example of how to lead. Whoever is elected in her place has a tough act to follow.”
The party are now open for nominations for leadership candidates until June. The new Leader will take the reins in early September. Currently, no nominations have been received.
Lucas concluded, “Now feels like the right time to step aside, to allow more of that ability to come forward and help the party to grow. I offer my very best wishes to the next Leader, whoever they may be.”