Official press releases

Council pass Green Party motion on pension fund investments in fossil fuels

PRESS RELEASE

12 October 2018

Green Motion on reduction in fossil fuels investments successful

Herefordshire Green Councillors were delighted with the success of their motion to council today, which was passed almost unanimously with one abstention.

Councillor Trish Marsh, proposer of the motion, welcomed the gradual reduction in fossil fuel investments held by Worcestershire Pension Fund, which also manages the pensions of many public sector employees in Herefordshire. She called on Herefordshire Council representatives on the Worcestershire Local Government Pension Fund board to work with Worcestershire colleagues to seek alternatives to investments in fossil fuels.

The motion also urges the Fund to provide regular information on the results of their policy of engagement with their fossil fuel and other carbon intensive holdings; and to review their Statement of Investment principles and Responsible Investment principles in the next year, including undertaking a carbon risk audit.

Councillor Marsh said “Herefordshire Council has long held a commitment to reducing its own carbon impact and support county carbon reductions with partners. It has taken positive steps over the last decade, including introducing LED street lighting across the county, and installing PV panels on some publicly owned buildings, measures which have also led to significant financial savings.

We are pleased to have the support of other parties, including the Conservatives who seconded the motion, in taking the Council’s commitment to combat climate change another step forward. We welcome cross party working and are glad that other parties are seeing the value of green policies.”

The Motion as submitted to full Council meeting 12 October 2018:

Motion – Worcestershire Local Pension Board

(Proposed by Councillor PP Marsh, Seconded by Councillor tbc )

The Council welcomes the recent decision by several local authority funds, including Merseyside Pension Fund, to take practical steps to reduce their investments in fossil fuels.

We also welcome the powers now explicitly given by government for pension funds to take financially material considerations, including climate change, into account.

We note increasing evidence for change in demand for fossil fuels, such as Carbon Trackers’ ‘2020 Vison: why you should see the fossil fuel peak coming’, which will impact on share prices over the next decade and thus on returns to the fund.

Worcestershire Local Government Pension Fund is responsible for the pensions of Herefordshire Council employees and many other public sector employees. It has significant holdings in fossil fuels.

We call on our Herefordshire Council representatives on the Worcestershire Local Government Pension Fund board and committee to seek alternatives to investments in fossil fuels. In particular we ask them to push for the Fund to:-

  • provide regular information on the results of the Fund’s policy of engagement with its fossil fuel and other carbon intense holdings; and
  • overhaul their Statement of Investment principles and Responsible Investment principles in the next year, including undertaking a carbon risk audit.

Hereford Times letter – Buses in Crisis

From Trish Marsh, published 19 July 2018

Dear Editor,

Herefordshire looks set to be squeezed over transport choices due to bus service cuts and an anticipated rise in fuel duty.

A new national report – ‘Buses in Crisis’ – shows Herefordshire is hardest hit in the West Midlands following 31.25% cuts to council funding of bus services from 2010/11. Shropshire made 3.8% cuts to buses, Worcestershire 11% and Staffordshire 20%.

Many of our rural residents, young people and the elderly bear the brunt. The number of our residents aged over 65 is 24 per cent above the national average and rising. At a time when people might otherwise think of giving up their car because of costs and health reasons car use here is increasing.

A shrinking public transport network means more cars on our roads, more problems in meeting environmental goals and health risks for residents unfortunate enough to live near traffic pollution hotspots.

Herefordshire Council must act to prevent further bus losses and join other councils to vigorously make the case to Central Government for a new deal on public transport. Last year local-authority bus budgets were slashed by £20 million due to lack of government funding.

Yet at the same time more than £50 BILLION is being spent on the widely criticised HS2 vanity project which will cause major environmental damage and benefit few. (The Institute of Economic Affairs says there is “no economic case” for HS2).

Money would be better invested in local public transport services in Herefordshire and across the country.

Councillor Trish Marsh,

Green group leader,

Herefordshire Council

Trish Marsh takes over as Green Group Leader on Herefordshire Council

Herefordshire’s “outstanding” natural environment should be at the heart of its plans for the future says the new leader of the Green Party group on Herefordshire Council.

Councillor Trish Marsh is taking on the role while the current leader, Jenny Bartlett, serves as the Mayor of Leominster for the coming year.

“Jenny will be busy keeping up her council commitments plus the extra responsibility of being mayor so I am very happy to help by stepping in as Green group leader,” she said.

A former environmental team officer with Herefordshire Council, Trish Marsh is a member of Leominster Town Council and the Herefordshire councillor for Leominster South.

“My aim is to work hard for cross-party co-operation to get the best results for Herefordshire,” said Cllr Marsh, one of four Greens on the council. “We believe Herefordshire’s outstanding natural environment should be at the heart of the council’s long term vision and the county’s USP.

“We want to see social and environmental goals for our beautiful rural county included alongside and integrated with economic growth goals, not just mentioned in passing.

“On the question of how the council operates we need greater transparency, fewer cabinet diktats and the empowerment of ordinary ward councillors of all parties to enable them to do their jobs more effectively.”

Press Release: Greens call for halt to Forest Holidays development in Mortimer Forest

North Herefordshire Green Party is calling on the head of the Forestry Commission to halt plans for large-scale commercial development in Mortimer Forest.

The Greens are asking commission chairman Sir Harry Studholme to intervene and scrap “damaging” plans for 68 holiday houses on 125 acres of forest below High Vinnalls close to the Herefordshire-Shropshire border. The scheme would be “a gross and inappropriate” form of development in a much-loved local forest, say the Greens.

The plan by Forest Holidays, in association with the Forestry Commission (which has a 15 per cent stake in the company), would include access roads, car parks, an on-site shop, bar, restaurant and takeaway facilities.

Said Leominster Green councillor Jenny Bartlett: “Mortimer Forest is a peaceful beauty spot much-loved by people throughout North Herefordshire and beyond. It supports a tremendous variety of wildlife – this sprawling holiday park would destroy precious habitat.

“The Forestry Commission is approaching its centenary – in 2019 – and its chief, Sir Harry Studholme, recently publicly championed the Commission’s role ‘in safeguarding and protecting the Public Forest Estate now and for the next 100 years.’

“Well Sir Harry, the plans for Mortimer Forest utterly conflict with that worthy objective. We call on the commission to abandon plans for such damaging development.”

Hereford Times coverage here

                 BEFORE and AFTER?

White Wood butterfly – Mortimer Forest
Forest Holidays ‘luxury’ cabin in Forest of Dean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hereford Times Talking Point 12 October 2017 – Economic Growth

Full text:

Apart from the Greens, all political parties say economic growth is essential. And many Councils, like Herefordshire, list economic growth among their key objectives.

What do we mean by economic growth? If we mean an end to poverty and inequality – a fairer share of wealth for everyone, then good. If we simply mean people buying more and more stuff they don’t need and can’t afford, definitely not.

In my view, the economic model we are being sold cannot deliver true prosperity, emotional wellbeing, equality and long-term security. It treats natural resources as expendable and disposable. It mortgages the future and threatens our descendants with poorer lives. Under the gig economy, people are treated as economic units to be exploited.

Pushing economic growth without considering the timescale is dumb. Is growing the economy meant to stop at some point or continue forever? Is endless growth possible? A finite planet with limited resources surely cannot support a growing population with ever-higher levels of consumption – however fast technology develops.

Expectation of endless economic growth is the key driving force behind our over-exploitation of natural resources. Measuring prosperity by consumption (GDP) perpetuates this economic system and threatens to make our planet uninhabitable.

The green movement is often accused of being unrealistic and impractical, but what is absolutely unrealistic is clinging to the out-dated and unthinking belief that we can go on expanding on a finite planet without consequences.

Global warming could be the nudge we need to re-think our approach – if we can get past the denial and wishful thinking about clean technologies. We can’t possibly run our high-consuming energy-intensive society on renewable energy alone without making other significant changes. We have to divest from over-consumption – not just from fossil fuels.

Securing our long-term future requires us to move away from the consumption-obsessed growth-based, values of global capitalism. This is a huge challenge, but we are deluding ourselves if we think that tinkering with business-as-usual will be enough. There are no proven models out there that we absolutely know will work. But that shouldn’t stop us exploring the possibilities.

Golden Valley South by-election – thanks from Jeremy Milln

Letter to Hereford Times 21 September 2017

 

Poll thanks
TO everyone who voted (or considered voting) Green at the Golden Valley South by-election on September 7, thank you.
We did well, more than doubling the Green Party vote share since the June General Election (this constituency) beating Labour, whose share fell to less than half.
It’s a huge ward and slow going by foot and bicycle, so apologies to those whom I failed to meet.
Cheers to everyone who I did, for my reception was always gracious and patient.
The Green Party stands for fairness, neighbourliness and community, the ingredients of social justice. And also for intelligent stewardship of our environmental capital so that livelihoods may be sustained and the special qualities of this beautiful area are understood and cared for.
In Peter Jinman, an able representative on Herefordshire Council has been elected and am happy to congratulate him on the achievement.
As an adviser to the present government Peter Jinman apparently declined an approach to stand for the Conservatives, leaving us to wonder where, as an ‘Independent’, his leanings may lie.
I urge him therefore to support the Green group on the council and to allow its principles to guide his oversight of the Neighbourhood Plans produced recently by the four parish groups of the ward.
JEREMY MILLN
Green Party Candidate
Golden Valley South Election

Green Thanks: post-election letters

Green thanks

THANK you to everyone who voted Green in the general election and for helping Ellie Chowns in North Herefordshire achieve one of the best Green results in the country.

We’d also like to commend our opponents on their campaigns and to thank Herefordshire Council officers for their very efficient administration of the election.

It was tough for us to see the Green vote squeezed by tactical voting both locally and nationally.

But, despite this squeeze, the Green Party gained more than half a million votes across the country. Regrettably that won us just one seat – Caroline Lucas was returned as MP for Brighton Pavilion with a much increased majority.

In contrast the Democratic Unionist Party, which looks set to prop up Theresa May, had 10 MPs elected on fewer than 300,000 votes.

This is another clear indication of the unfairness of the First Past The Post voting system used to elect MPs.

A system that means millions of votes are wasted and which leads people to vote tactically instead of for their best candidate.

A system which can allow the Conservatives to form a government when only 29% of the electorate voted for them.

Under a Proportional Representation system, as used, for example, in Germany, parliament would more closely reflect the wishes expressed by voters, and far fewer votes would be wasted.

As a way of countering the unfairness of the voting system, Greens across the country sought in this election to make alliances with other progressive parties.

Green candidates stood aside in dozens of marginal seats to help better placed progressive candidates, Labour or Liberal Democrats, to win.  We took a hit for democracy and made a difference.

Unless progressive parties build on this and continue to work together, making local tactical alliances and pushing for electoral reform, the country will be stuck forever with a parliament that is not representative.

This is a dreadful prospect and we invite all who share this concern to become politically active and fight for change.

DIANA TOYNBEE Hereford & South Herefordshire candidate

ELLIE CHOWNS North Herefordshire candidate

The Green Party

published in Hereford TImes and Ross Gazette w/c 19 June 2017

“Defend Herefordshire”, say Greens

Green Party parliamentary candidates issue an eve-of-poll warning that Herefordshire’s future could be at stake if voters fail to “rein in” the Conservatives.

“Today’s Conservatives have forgotten how to conserve, they are failing to look after what is best about our county,” claim Diana Toynbee and Ellie Chowns. “Current Tory policy could lead to the decline and break-up of Herefordshire as a self governing county.“

“Only the Green Party fully embraces the ‘small is beautiful’ concept where local communities retain control and where ‘big’ doesn’t necessarily mean better,” the Green challengers say in a statement.

The biggest immediate threat facing Herefordshire is the Conservative government plan to abolish grant funding to local councils by 2019 and force them to rely solely on Council Tax and Business Tax, they say.

Herefordshire with its relatively sparse and older population could be absorbed by a bigger authority based in Worcester or Birmingham. Deep funding cuts planned for school budgets could lead to the closure of some village schools, further impacting on the character of rural communities.

Added to this, the looming shake-up of parliamentary constituency boundaries will mean a large rural area of Herefordshire and three of its market towns (Kington, Leominster and Bromyard) will be transferred into a new constituency with Ludlow and South Shropshire.

Ellie Chowns said, “Brexit also means more uncertainty. While it gives us a welcome opportunity to reform farm subsidies, we need to safeguard vital environmental protection legislation and do far more to conserve nature and improve animal welfare. Last year’s State of Nature report [1] painted an alarming picture of worsening conditions for wildlife”

Diana Toynbee, the Hereford Green candidate and Ellie Chowns for North Herefordshire say: “We urge all thinking Conservatives to support us – we are the natural alternative to the Conservatives in Herefordshire. If elected we will put our hearts and souls into opposing the damaging changes facing our county. Herefordshire has a prosperous green future with the right policies in place.”

NOTES

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/14/one-in-10-uk-wildlife-species-faces-extinction-major-report-shows

“More than one in 10 of the UK’s wildlife species are threatened with extinction and the UK’s most endangered creatures have plummeted by two-thirds since 1970, according to a major report.”

The abundance of all wildlife has also fallen, with one in six animals, birds, fish and plants having been lost.”

Ellie outside Parliament - let's put her in it!

Vote for What You Believe In – response to Polly Ernest, Hereford Times Letters 5 May

I sympathise with the desire of Polly Ernest (‘Get together’, HT letters, 5 May) and many others to see progressive parties unite around common ground and fight to oppose counterproductive austerity, growing inequality, environmental threats and extreme Brexit.  Indeed, the Green Party has been leading the push for electoral alliances against a deeply unfair voting system.  That system delivered a fragile Conservative majority in 2015, based on only 24% of the electorate’s votes, which led us into the instability of the Brexit referendum and now back, again, to another election.
Greens have been calling for months for Labour and the Lib Dems to discuss electoral alliances to secure reform of our broken political system – and we’ve put our money where our mouth is by standing down in key marginals like Richmond Park.  But the other parties simply haven’t reciprocated.
In any case, electoral alliances are only really relevant in marginal seats where an alliance can unseat the Conservative – and where it is a genuine agreement between parties, not one just standing down and losing its democratic voice.
In Herefordshire several candidates could claim to be best placed to beat the Conservatives.  For example, the Greens have more councillors than the Lib Dems and Labour put together; we more than doubled our vote in 2015; and we are the only opposition party to have gained seats nationwide in last week’s local elections.  But the fact is, neither Herefordshire seat is a ‘key marginal’.  Instead, this is a county where voters can and should vote for their own principles, and for the candidate they think has the ability and the integrity to represent them most effectively in Parliament.  This is not the time or place for tactical voting, but for voting for what you believe in.
For me, that means voting for someone who will campaign with all their might for investment in public services, protecting the environment, helping the local economy thrive – and holding Westminster accountable.
In the longer term, Greens will continue to work hard – looking for common ground with others – to reform our broken political system so that everyone’s voice counts equally.
Ellie Chowns
Dr Ellie Chowns and Gareth Williams, Managing Director of Fownhope-based Caplor Energy, with one of the latest solar photovoltaic panels

Government failing on energy say Greens

North Hfds Green Party candidate Dr Ellie Chowns slams ‘incoherent and inconsistent’ government energy policy

Dr Ellie Chowns, the Green Party’s parliamentary candidate for North Herefordshire, this week called on the government to ‘put its money where its mouth is’ on renewable energy.  Visiting successful Fownhope-based solar business Caplor Energy, Dr Chowns praised the vision and dynamism of the renewable energy sector, but strongly criticised the government’s incoherent and inconsistent policy.

Dr Chowns said: “Businesses like this are the engine of our future economy and are vital to help us deal with climate change and fuel poverty.  Our energy system is creaking at the seams and simply isn’t fit for purpose in the 21st century. The government is dragging its feet on modernisation, and we’re still waiting for the energy strategy they promised to publish by the end of 2016.”

“It’s clear that we urgently need a major shift in how we generate and use energy in order to meet our national and international climate commitments. The vast majority of fossil fuels must be left in the ground in order for us to have any chance of avoiding climate disaster.  We should be aiming for a 100% renewable energy-based economy by 2050, while at the same time tackling fuel poverty and investing seriously in energy efficiency.  But current policies mean we’re going to miss our 2020 renewables target (1).”

Council figures show that Herefordshire homes are less energy efficient than the national average, and Herefordshire has one of the highest rates of fuel poverty in the country (2).  Half of the houses in Herefordshire are suitable for solar PV – but only a tiny percentage have actually had it installed.

Said Dr Chowns, “The transition to a green energy future is being hindered, not helped, by incoherent government policy.  Business needs consistency so that it can plan and invest for the long-term.  Instead, the weak leadership of the Conservatives on energy and climate change has created serious instability for the sector, made worse by Brexit-related price hikes.  Warm words aren’t enough; it’s time for the government to start walking the talk on building a green economy fit for our children.”

Photo: Dr Ellie Chowns and Gareth Williams, Managing Director of Fownhope-based Caplor Energy, with one of the latest solar photovoltaic panels

Greens will give voters a chance to stay in EU

The thousands in Herefordshire who voted REMAIN in the EU referendum can take comfort from the Green Party pledge to hold a ratification referendum on BREXIT.
 
The referendum will also give voters the option to retain EU membership.
Caroline Lucas will announce the Green Party’s new Brexit pledge on Tuesday 2 May.
The Green Party co-leader will pledge to give voters a final say on any Brexit deal – with the chance to stay in the EU if they don’t like the deal the Government negotiates.
Lucas is expected to say:
“A democracy worthy of the name must mean people having a real say over the major decisions that affect their lives. That’s why the Green Party has consistently said that the referendum should be the start, not the end, of the democratic process. And it’s why today we are announcing our intention to push for remaining in the EU to be an option in a ratification referendum.”
The Greens are the only party to have made an official and unambiguous pledge to include the option of Remaining in the EU on the ballot paper of a ratification referendum.
And:
“Whoever wins this election has a mandate to negotiate on behalf of the British people – but that does not mean that they have a right to impose a final deal. Instead we demand a ratification referendum which gives people the option to remain in the EU if they wish, or to vote to back the Government’s deal.
“There are some who say that this is a re-run of the referendum, but that simply isn’t the case. Instead this is giving people an informed say over our shared future. If the Government is so convinced that they’ll get a decent deal then there’s no reason that they wouldn’t trust people to have a final say.
“Our message is simple. For a final say, and for a chance to vote to stay in the EU, vote Green.”
Molly Scott Cato, the Green Party’s EU spokesperson and Bristol West parliamentary candidate  is expected to say:
“Take back control was the strap line which persuaded many to vote Leave in the referendum last year. It’s now clear what that meant. A power grab by the Tory right so they can make a bonfire of regulations which protect our rights and environment. A ratification referendum must give back control. People must be given an opportunity to vote for the future on offer at the end of the article 50 process, or decide whether actually we are better off remaining a full member of the EU.”
ENDS

Greens call for urgent action on UK air pollution crisis

Greens call for urgent action on UK air pollution crisis.

Herefordshire’s pollution hotspots in Leominster & Hereford unresolved for over 10 years

The Green Party is calling for decisive and effective action to tackle the UK’s air pollution crisis ahead of the delayed publication of the Government’s draft air quality plan [1]. The High Court ruled on Thursday (April 27) that the Government must publish its draft air pollution plan before May 9 [2]

People’s quality of life can be severely affected by pollution-related conditions like asthma, heart disease and bronchitis; and air pollution is linked to 40,000 early deaths every year in the UK.

The A49 corridor through Hereford was declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) in November 2001, and Bargates in Leominster was declared in March 2006 – both for exceeding annual limits for Nitrogen Dioxide. [3]

Road traffic is the biggest cause of air pollution: vehicles do need to be made cleaner but reducing the growth in the number of cars on the road is also essential. Cuts to public transport have forced people to switch to using a car even for short journeys.

Diana Toynbee, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Hereford said, “It’s astounding the Government had to be forced in the courts to reveal its plan for tackling air pollution and has squandered taxpayers’ money fighting to keep it a secret.”

“As a rural county most of us in Herefordshire enjoy clean air. Everyone should! But the pollution hotspots in Hereford and Leominster are of great concern, particularly as they were identified as long as 15 years ago. Effective action is long overdue”

“The stark difference between the cost of travelling by car and taking public transport illustrates clearly how little this Government cares about tackling the problem at its root. If we keep pushing people into cars instead of promoting rail and public transport, our air is only going to get dirtier and more dangerous for our children to breathe.”

“The Green Party is the only party committed to taking immediate action on air pollution, with investment in cycling, walking, electric vehicles and public transport. We’d also properly fund and expand the Clean Air Zone network and introduce a Vehicle Excise Duty for new diesel vehicles alongside a diesel scrappage scheme.”

 

Ends

Chancellor’s statement has nothing to say on climate change emergency

Caroline Lucas, the Green Party co-leader and MP for Brighton Pavillion, has accused the Government of ‘shirking its responsibilities’ after today’s Autumn Statement.

Lucas accused the Government of having ‘deeply skewed priorities’. She said: 

“Britain is drifting towards the stormy and unchartered waters of brexit with ministers refusing to reveal the route, or properly adjust the sails according to the headwinds. We needed an Autumn statement which rose to the challenges of the day, but we see a government shirking its responsibilities, lacking any moral compass and leaving us dangerously exposed to both economic shocks and climate change.

“This Autumn statement shows a Government with deeply skewed priorities. At a time of uncertainty they are continuing with plans to give a tax cut to corporations and the highest earners – while our NHS is strapped for cash and local services are under immense strain. We could save billions by scrapping the plans to cut corporate tax and raising the threshold for the highest earners – and we could plough that money into our ailing NHS – but the Government has refused to change course.

Lucas slammed the Chancellor for failing ‘even mention climate change’ in his speech. She said:

“With Trump’s election this could have been a moment for Britain to become a world-leader in the fight against catastrophic climate change but, instead, we see little evidence of a commitment to facing up to the greatest challenge of our times. Indeed, it is shameful that the Chancellor failed to even mention climate change in his speech. By caving into the motor lobby and freezing fuel duty again for the seventh year in a row the Government has made a mockery of the fact that it is the hottest year on record and condemned us to more carbon emissions and deadly pollution.”

“A Government with a genuinely bold vision could have used this Autumn statement to ensure that the economy is future facing on everything from the risks of a potential Brexit to the threats posed by climate change and growing inequality. Instead we have a backwards looking budget that fails to wage war on poverty and fails to grasp the realities of an uncertain world and the limited resources in it. A serious response to the situation we’re in could, for example, have included a nationwide insulation scheme to keep people warm in their homes, cut bills and create jobs in every community. Or the Conservatives could have scrapped their plan to hand cash to corporations and high earners and instead give the NHS the funding it so desperately needs.”

Greens campaign to keep two MPs for Herefordshire

Greens have called on the Boundary Commission to keep two MPs for Herefordshire, rather than splitting the county into three. Current proposals for new, larger constituencies mean North Herefordshire faces major changes. Some voters will be moved to Hereford & South Herefordshire, some will become part of a new ‘Ludlow and Leominster’ constituency, and others will find themselves sharing an MP with parts of Worcestershire in a new ‘Malvern and Ledbury’ constituency.  Having analysed the proposals in depth, Herefordshire Greens believe that the changes are harmful to Herefordshire and there are better alternatives.

The Boundary Commission for England (BCE) has been required by the government to make proposals to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600, and to make the size of constituencies more equal across the whole country.   They are currently consulting on their proposals.  The Greens strongly support the idea that everyone’s vote should have equal weight, but are concerned that the current proposals for Herefordshire don’t give enough consideration to some key factors, including county boundaries, the geographical size, the small population and rural nature of Herefordshire.  These are all factors which the BCE says it wants to take into account.

Herefordshire Greens’ alternative proposal put forward to BCE is that every voter in the county should continue to be in one of two constituencies – the North or the South.  While both constituencies have to expand in order to meet the minimum size requirements, this can be done very easily. Just one ward needs to move from North Herefordshire to the Hereford & South Herefordshire constituency to make it big enough, and the North Herefordshire constituency could be expanded to meet the minimum size requirement by including some wards from northwestern Malvern Hills District.

Felicity Norman, Chair of North Herefordshire Green Party said, “It simply doesn’t make sense for our county to be split into three constituencies when it has fewer electors than are needed for two.  The Boundary Commission is proposing changes for us that are more significant than for any other area in the West Midlands, and which mean that the interests of Shropshire and Worcestershire would dominate over those of North Herefordshire for the new MPs.  We think Herefordshire needs two MPs that pay proper attention to Herefordshire issues!”

These boundary changes do not change the first-past-the-post electoral system, which determines who sits as an MP. “We are not against electoral reform – quite the opposite,” said Diana Toynbee, prospective Green Party parliamentary candidate for Hereford. “The Brexit referendum result showed that many people in this country feel that their voices are not heard in parliament. It’s scandalous that under our first-past-the-post system, parties which get millions of votes can end up with virtually no MPs. We are being governed by a party which only 24% of the electorate voted for. Tinkering with electoral boundaries is a waste of time while the basic system is so badly flawed.”

The Green Party is calling for a complete overhaul of the UK’s unfair electoral system, including the introduction of proportional representation so that parliament accurately reflects the votes cast by the electorate, a position with which the Liberal Democrats and many in Labour agree.

The Party has also long campaigned for an elected and smaller House of Lords and an end to the appointment of Lords by the Prime Minister (In his two terms as Prime Minister, David Cameron created over a hundred new peers, taking the total to over 800)

Ellie Chowns - Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (North)

Ellie goes regional

A HEREFORDSHIRE Green Party activist has taken on a key role in helping to build on the party’s success following recent local government election victories, record general election vote and boom in membership.

DR ELLIE CHOWNS, a member of Ledbury Green Party, was elected last Saturday at a meeting in Birmingham as a West Midlands representative on the Green Party’s Regional Council.

Ellie, 40, lives in Canon Frome, near Ledbury, and works as a lecturer at the University of Birmingham. Her new role involves sharing experiences with other regions, and helping to develop the Green Party’s national strategy.

“I got involved in politics for the first time last year – my election shows that the Green Party is very open to new people and fresh ideas,” said Ellie.

“This is a really exciting time to be involved in positive, progressive politics.  The Green Party is going from strength to strength, and there are lots of important things to work on, like the upcoming European Referendum.

“I’m really looking forward to using my new role to help build a greener, fairer society.”