Green Party vows to make General Election the ‘climate election’

The Green Party has vowed to make the General Election the “climate election” as it launched its campaign with a pledge to borrow more than £900 billion over the next decade in a bid to rid the UK of fossil fuels.

Co-leader Sian Berry said the party wanted to turn the UK carbon neutral by 2030 and said she wanted the December 12 poll to “go down in history as the turning point for climate justice”.

Ms Berry, who is a London Assembly member, said she was determined to make the General Election more than just the Brexit election.

Green Party co-Leader Sian Berry (left) with colleagues Amelia Womack and Carla Denyer (Ben Birchall/PA)
Green Party co-Leader Sian Berry (left) with colleagues Carla Denyer and Amelia Womack (Ben Birchall/PA)

“There is something I want to make clear right from day one of this our Green campaign,” she said.

“Boris Johnson wants to make this the Brexit election, a re-run of the referendum, a fight on his terms, on his dodgy turf. But this election is about so much more.”

Ms Berry said her party, which more than doubled its MEPs at the last European elections, was the strongest voice for remaining in the EU.

“Yes, the Greens are the strongest voice for remaining in the European Union because we must protect environmental standards and work with our neighbours to avoid climate chaos,” she said.

“We must protect our precious freedom of movement, our human rights and our peace because we must remain and transform.

“Some things are even bigger than Brexit.

“This must be the climate election and the future won’t get another chance.

“We must make sure this election goes down in history as the turning point in our fight for climate justice.

“Despite all this the Greens don’t fear the future, we are the future.

“We stand at the threshold of what will be the most exciting and prosperous period of our country’s history because taking action on the climate emergency isn’t just about averting disaster it’s about creating a brand new Britain.”

Under the plans unveiled today at the campaign launch at the We The Curious children’s science museum in Bristol, the party are promising to spend £100 billion a year over the next decade for a “Green New Deal”.

Some £91.2 billion of the proposed yearly spending will come from borrowing, with the party arguing that the low cost of debt and impending climate crisis justifies the commitment.

The rest of the money will come from its proposed tax changes, with which it also hopes to service the cost of the borrowing.

They would also hike corporation tax by 5%, which will be used to build 100,000 energy-efficient homes a year and upgrade national transport infrastructure.

General election 2019 opinion polls
(PA Graphics)

The UK’s national debt currently sits at £1,790.9 billion, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Under Theresa May, the government committed to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

But the Green Party hopes to better that goal with its so-called Green New Deal, which it hopes will also encourage increased investment from the private sector.

The spending commitments come after a year of increasing pressure from environmentalists, including the direct action group Extinction Rebellion.

Bristol has been seen as a fertile ground for the Green Party, where they currently have 11 councillors.

It was the first city to declare a climate emergency following a motion proposed by Councillor Carla Denyer, the party’s parliamentary candidate for Bristol West.

On Tuesday night the council’s cabinet approved plans to ban diesel cars from the city centre by 2021.

The Greens are also believed to be targeting Stroud in Gloucestershire, where MEP Molly Scott Cato is standing, and Newport West in South Wales.

Speculation over a so-called Remain alliance between the Greens, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru has been growing over recent weeks.

A spokesman for the Greens confirmed that the parties were “having discussions” but refused to say whether an electoral pact had been agreed.

In 2017, the party said 22 candidates were standing aside to boost the electoral hopes of opposing progressive candidates.

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