European elections as much about climate change as about Brexit, says Green MP during Norwich visit
PUBLISHED: 12:15 13 May 2019 | UPDATED: 08:36 14 May 2019
Former Green Party national leader Caroline Lucas has said it is worth people in Norfolk voting in the European elections - and not solely as a protest over Brexit.
Ms Lucas, her party's sole MP, was in Norwich on Monday urging people to vote Green in the European Parliament elections on Thursday, May 23.
Some polls have put the Greens, whose lead candidate in the East is Dr Catherine Rowett, in fourth place, above the Conservatives, in the run-up to the elections.
And Ms Lucas was keen to position the Greens as the leading pro-Remain party, while stressing the elections should be about more than a protest about the way Brexit has been handled.
When asked whether it was worth people heading to the ballot box, she said: "I think that absolutely these elections are worth it. They are under a fairer voting system, so votes will count. They will translate into seats in a much better way than they do under first past the post.
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"And you could well be voting for MEPs who will represent you in the European Union for the next five years.
"If we end up not leaving the EU, if we have a people's vote and people say no, they want to remain, then you need to make sure the MEPs you are voting for are ones who are going to be standing up for your values and the things you care about in Brussels.
"I would absolutely say, for the sake of the 10 minutes it will take you to pop down the polling station, it's a bit of due diligence to make sure that those MEPs you elect are the ones you want to stand up for you."
The Greens saw their numbers swell from five to nine at Norwich City Council in the local elections, while action by Extinction Rebellion in London raised the profile of climate change nationally.
And Ms Lucas said: "The last few weeks have changed everything, in a sense, and I think this election is going to be a climate election just as much as it is a Brexit election.
"If you want to vote for a party that's going to do everything possible to stay in the EU, but also a party that is taking the climate crisis incredibly seriously - we have the policies and the commitment to tackle that."