Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley, the co-leaders of the Green Party - and their counterparts in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales - have joined forces with Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland and Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru to call for progressive parties to work together to resist the ‘Tories' toxic politics’.
The leaders have released a statement ahead of Theresa May’s first major conference speech as Conservative Party leader.
In the statement - signed by Sturgeon, Leanne Wood of Plaid Cyrmu, Jonathan Bartley and Caroline Lucas from the Green Party of England and Wales and the leaders of the Green Parties of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales - the politicians attack the Conservatives for the ‘the most toxic rhetoric on immigration seen from any government in living memory.’
The statement goes on to say:
“This is not a time for parties to play games, or meekly respect the tired convention whereby they do not break cover during each other's conferences. It is an occasion for us to restate the importance of working together to resist the Tories' toxic politics, and make the case for a better future for our people and communities.”
The statement was drawn up this morning between the parties as a response to increasingly hostile rhetoric from the Conservative Party Conference.
Caroline Lucas, who has long urged progressive parties to work together more, said:
“Now more than ever it is vital that we present a real opposition to the Conservatives. This conference has seen them attempt to inflame tensions in our communities and set out a vision for a ‘hard brexit’ that will do untold damage to the places we represent. By uniting we have the best chance of facing them down and protecting the people who elected us.”
Full statement, signed by:
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland
Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales
Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales
Leanne Wood, Leader of Plaid Cymru
Steven Agnew, Leader of the Green Party of Northern Ireland
Patrick Harvie, Co-convener of the Scottish Green Party
Maggie Chapman, CO-convenor of the Scottish Green Party
Alice Hooker-Stroud, Leader of the Wales Green Party
The countries of the United Kingdom face a spiralling political and economic crisis. At the top of the Conservative Party, the narrow vote in favour of leaving the EU has now been interpreted as the pretext for a drastic cutting of ties with Europe, which would have dire economic results - and as an excuse for the most toxic rhetoric on immigration we have seen from any government in living memory.
This is a profoundly moral question which gets to the heart of what sort of country we think we live in. We will not tolerate the contribution of people from overseas to our NHS being called into question, or a new version of the divisive rhetoric of 'British jobs for British workers'. Neither will we allow the people of these islands, no matter how they voted on June 23rd, to be presented as a reactionary, xenophobic mass whose only concern is somehow taking the UK back to a lost imperial age. At a time of increasing violence and tension, we will call out the actions of politicians who threaten to enflame those same things.
This is not a time for parties to play games, or meekly respect the tired convention whereby they do not break cover during each other's conferences. It is an occasion for us to restate the importance of working together to resist the Tories' toxic politics, and make the case for a better future for our people and communities. We will do this by continuing to work and campaign with the fierce sense of urgency this political moment demands.