Sian Berry has called for opposition parties to find common ground and work together, telling iNews that ‘Labour should stop “standing in the way” of an alliance with the Green Party and join up to capitalise on left-leaning voters in order to stave off the Conservatives’:
The Green Party is still riding high from a good set of local election results in England. It won 151 seats, gaining 88 councillors and almost doubling their count. It also secured record shares of the vote in London and Bristol – where it was the joint-largest party, coming second in the mayoral contest.
But what is, perhaps, more of an indication of the party’s future trajectory are the gains it made in new areas of England – in the North East, North West and Midlands. In Sheffield, the Green vote shifted the balance of power in the council and forced it from Labour, leading to no overall control, and in Suffolk the party gained six seats to become the official opposition.
“I’m delighted we saw success in the county council elections,” Ms Berry added. “They are harder for us because they are bigger, more dominated by the Conservatives broadly and they tend to cover bigger rural areas as well.
“In the North East we saw big gains and big majorities for our candidates in South Tyneside, Northumberland and County Durham.
“These are places that Labour are struggling to keep on board at the moment. But as part of that Greens are very, very popular among people who are looking for something new.”
Some would argue that, in capitalising on Labour’s diminished popularity in these regions, the Green Party is paving the way for the Tories to gain further control over the so-called “blue wall” regions. But the co-leader said her party is always open to an alliance with opposition parties – when they can get on the same page.
Likewise, Caroline Russell said that the Green’s door is still open for cooperation with Labour in the London Assembly:
‘Greens are dismayed by what just happened in the London Assembly and we hope that the Labour AMs will come back to the table.
Friday saw the Assembly’s annual meeting where we agree the membership and chairs of scrutiny committees for the year ahead. Since the meeting there has been some confusion and I wanted to write more fully to help explain what happened.
Deciding who chairs our committees has normally been a collaborative cross-party process, arriving at a plan that reflects the balance of parties elected to serve on the Assembly. This year, disappointingly and unprecedentedly, when the Labour group of Assembly Members did not have the votes to impose exactly what they wanted without considering all the parties, they dragged their heels all week on negotiating and then walked away and refused to chair any committees at all.
In 2016 there was an amicable four way agreement between Labour, Conservative, Green and Liberal Democrat Assembly Members to ensure a fair division of the work of chairing the committees that scrutinise the policies and actions of the Labour Mayor, who holds executive power. No one ever described this as a ‘coalition’ because, as usual, it was a practical, one-time vote based on fairness.
Friday was a little different. The Labour group initially refused to take part in putting together a four party plan for chairing which is why this week the Green, Liberal Democrat and Conservative groups put together a fair and proportionate proposal as a starting point for discussion with Labour. The Labour group won two extra chairs during discussions, which made the plan that went to Friday’s annual meeting favour them disproportionally.’