Free time should be measure of UK’s well-being, say Greens

From BBC News: People’s free time should be recorded as a way to measure the UK’s “well-being”, the Green Party says.

The party is calling for a “Free Time Index” and says that time spent outside work and commuting is a better measure of how well the UK is doing than GDP.

Co-leader Sian Berry told the BBC work-life balance was “in crisis” and more people were working while commuting.

The party also said it wanted paid training leave for all workers to boost skills and reduce staff turnover.

Calling for new free time indicators to be included in the next Budget, Ms Berry told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Work-life balance is an incredibly important indicator of people’s well-being and it is in crisis at the moment.

“People are constantly ‘on’, even when they are commuting. There’s an enormous amount of unpaid caring going on which doesn’t get measured, which doesn’t leave people with very much free time either. We have got a mental health crisis and we think we should be measuring this.”

[Read full article on BBC News website…]

Jonathan Bartley and Sian Berry elected Green Party co-leaders

From BBC News: Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley have been elected joint leaders of the Green Party of England and Wales.

Mr Bartley had shared the leadership role with MP Caroline Lucas, but she decided not to stand again.

London Assembly member Ms Berry will now serve a two-year term as co-leader of the party alongside Mr Bartley.

Ms Berry and Mr Bartley won 6,239 of a total 8,379 votes cast.

The co-leaders said they wanted the party to be “the opposite of vapid, old school centrist politics” by responding to the “big challenges of our time – from Brexit to climate breakdown and the housing crisis, to automation and the broken world of work”.

They also promised “fiercer Green resistance” against fracking and the HS2 rail project.

Ms Lucas, the party’s only MP and its figurehead for many years, was arrested during a fracking demonstration in 2013.

The new co-leaders said they wanted to see Green representation on every council in England as part of their ambition of becoming the “third political party” in Britain.

[Read full article on BBC News…]

Responsibility for Windrush deportations rests “squarely on Theresa May’s shoulders” – Caroline Lucas

From Morning Star: Responsibility for the Windrush scandal falls “squarely on the shoulders” of Theresa May for ignoring a report warning her what would happen, Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas charged yesterday.

The Brighton Pavilion MP had tabled a written question asking if Ms May, as home secretary, had acted on the Legal Action Group’s prescient October 2014 report Chasing Status.

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes responded: ”No specific action was taken as a result of this report.”

The report recommended a number of measures which could have prevented the Windrush scandal, including to set up a special unit to fast-track cases of people living in Britain on January 1 1973.

It also called for the restoration of legal aid for these cases, allowing Commonwealth-born citizens to work, access the the NHS and claim benefits and for Home Office proof of residence standards to be revised.

Another of the report’s recommendations was for “greater openness” from the Home Office about its archiving and destruction policies, and for it to accept that some immigration records could be rendered inaccurate or incomplete over time.

[Read full article on Morning Star website…]

Caroline Lucas to step down as Green party co-leader

From The Guardian: Caroline Lucas has announced she will stand down as co-leader of the Greens in the autumn, saying it is time for others in the party to step forward and widen the pool of its prominent figures.

Lucas, the party’s only MP, returned for a second stint as leader in 2016 on a joint ticket with Jonathan Bartley, who leads the opposition group on Lambeth council in south London.

The party requires it leaders to re-stand every two years, and Lucas told the Guardian that while she remained committed to her Brighton Pavilion constituency, she would not be continuing in the co-leader role.

“I think making space for other people at this point is a straightforward thing to do and a good thing to do,” she said. “We have a wonderful array of talent in the party and I would love the opportunity for more of that to be showcased.”

Nominations for the leadership and for a series of other senior party positions will be open during June, and there will be a vote in August.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

“Fracking statement cements Tories’ disregard for evidence-based policy-making” says Green MEP

Press release from Keith Taylor MEP: Responding to the Tory Government’s announcement that it will accelerate its plans to fast-track fracking across England, by relaxing planning laws and overriding local democracy, just seven days after a consultation on the proposals closed, Keith Taylor, Green Party MEP for the South East, said: “This process has been a sham; the Government can’t claim with any credibility that it has assessed even a handful of the responses to the hefty consultation on these anti-democratic plans that it closed only last week.”

“Ultimately, the Conservative government, for all its empty green promises has proven determined to defy the evidence and local communities and hasten the climate breakdown by fast-tracking a fracking enterprise for which it has been unable to demonstrate either an economic or energy security case. It is with absolute certainty that experts and climate campaigners say: there is no possibility that the UK will meet its legally-binding climate targets if fracking is rolled out across England.”

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Green Party says Tories’ environment rhetoric is dangerous

From The Guardian: The Conservative Party’s rhetoric on the environment is a “fluffy communications strategy” when change on plastics could happen in half the time pledged, the co-leader of the Greens has said ahead of her party conference speech.

“The government’s 25-year environment plan – finally published a few months ago – is desperately disappointing,” she will say. “A vague promise to ban ‘avoidable’ plastics in a quarter of a century is woefully inadequate and easy to do, with the politicians who wrote it likely to have retired or expired by the time it would come into force.”

Speaking to the Guardian ahead of her speech, Lucas said she thought the Conservatives’ electoral strategy on the environment could be dangerous.

“It is dangerous to have a nice, fluffy communications strategy which lulls people into the sense you can trust this government on the environment, when time and time again they’ve shown you simply can’t,” she said.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

“Theresa May, charging us for plastic won’t make up for those awful Tory environmental policies you’re keeping quiet about”

Caroline Lucas writes in The Independent… “Stopping climate breakdown won’t happen by tinkering around the edges of an economy reliant on fossil fuels – which is why the Government’s record doesn’t live up to May’s claim today that we are ‘leading the world on climate change’.”

[Read column on Independent website…] 

Caroline Lucas expertly exposes Jacob Rees-Mogg’s hypocrisy over tuition fee debt

From Evolve Politics: BBC Question Time on 6 July featured Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and Green MP Caroline Lucas.

Caroline’s response to the Tory logic espoused by Rees-Mogg: “So I just thought it was interesting how Jacob spent the first half of the programme saying that government debt is really bad, and we need to avoid it at all costs, and he just spent the last ten minutes saying that student debt is absolutely fine, and don’t worry about it at all.”

[Read full article on Evolve Politics…]

Tories’ plans will see more than 50,000 lives cut short by air pollution by 2030 in London alone, Greens claim

From The Independent: The lives of more than 50,000 people in London alone will be cut short by air pollution by 2030 because the Government’s latest plan to address the problem is so ineffective, the Green Party has claimed. Ministers have a track record of failure on the issue, having twice been ordered by a judge to come up with stronger proposals to bring air quality to within legally binding EU safety limits.

[Read full article on Independent website…]

Caroline Lucas at the #LeadersDebate: “We’ve shown we can change the course of history”

Caroline Lucas eschewed party political advantage in her address to the ITV Leaders’ Debate, to express sentiments that most progressive voters are likely to agree with:

Caroline Lucas on ITV Leaders' Debate

Tonight Caroline Lucas spoke with honesty and hope to the people of Britain. When people come together and reach for a bigger future, we can change the course of history 💚

Posted by Green Party of England and Wales on Thursday, May 18, 2017

“Never in my lifetime has our future felt so uncertain. Brexit, climate change, an NHS in crisis. But when people come together and reach for a bigger future, we can change the course of history. Read more

Caroline Lucas: 10 things no one tells you before you first enter Parliament

From The Independent: “8) You can’t breastfeed – or wear T-shirts with slogans.

“The parliamentary rules on dress code have always seemed a bit of a mystery to me, but they appear to exercise a number of colleagues. For example, Labour’s Thomas Docherty seems to have a problem with women wearing denim in the House, even asking for guidance “as to what is an appropriate dress code for the mother of Parliaments”.

[Read full article on Independent website…]

Green Party pulls out of crucial general election seat to help Labour beat the Tories

From Daily Mirror: The Green Party has pulled out of standing in a crucial general election seat – to help Labour beat the Tories. The move in Ealing Central and Acton, West London, is the first tactical withdrawal of its kind in the country for the 2017 general election.

[Read article on Mirror website…]