Tonight Caroline Lucas announced that she is to stand down as leader of the Green Party. On a statement on the Green Party website she said she was doing so “in order to broaden opportunities for the range of talent in the Party and to raise the profiles of others aspiring to election.”
On Twitter this evening her Conservative rival in the 2010 general election, Charlotte Vere, said that she was trying to think of another party leader to stand down voluntarily and then not withdraw from public life.
My understanding that Ms Lucas is not planning to withdraw from public life. Rather, she is to focus on defending her Westminster seat at the next general election.
This is a shrewd move from Ms Lucas. Her profile as the lone Green MP is far greater than her profile as Party Leader. Of course being the leader gave her a significant advantage against Chuck Vere and Nancy Platts (the Labour candidate). However, having secured the win, she can now concentrate on her consistuency base.
A criticism of Ms Lucas, if it can be called that, has been that she tries to do everything and might have been in danger of running herself into the ground. This blogger was concerned prior to the election that, if elected, her role as leader she would mean she could not devote sufficient attention to the constituency. She has proven to be an excellent constituency MP (as I have no doubt would have Chuck or Nancy – Brighton Pavilion was particularly fortunate to have had three exceptional women condidates in 2010).
If a new Party Leader can support Caroline in her role as a Member of Parliament, even using the platform that leadership offers to become an MP, then the Greens will have taken a small, yet significant step forward.
For Labour and Tory activists with an eye on the general election in 2015, this news will be greeted with dismay. It means that Ms Lucas’s near certain re-election has itself moved a small, yet significant step forward.