Caroline Lucas stands down …. as party leader

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.

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11 Responses

  1. As you say:

    “she is to focus on defending her Westminster seat at the next general election.”

    And she can’t do that as Green party leader when the Brighton and Hove Greens are screwing thing up so comprehensively.

    Caroline has a career to protect and distancing herself from Brighton and Hove Greens is a sensible and rational move in doing so…

    ps…
    Green: I say, I say, I say how do you make someone pay £20 for parking near a road of shut down restaurants?

    Visitor: I don’t know, how do you make someone pay £20 for parking near a road of shut down restaurants?

    Green: You rename the road of shut down restaurants ‘West Laine”!

    • If you need to pay £20 to park near your restaurant that means you need 11 hours to eat the meal. Perhaps that might be why they didn’t do good business…

      • wellllllllllllllllllllll you might want to go and spend some additional money in shops bars, theatres and other attractions therefore supporting the local economy. Somthing that seems to be lost on you and the other green totalitarians.

        Hugh
        XX

  2. The trouble for the Green Party is that there is no candidate with anything like the political skills of Caroline to take the reigns. Jenny Jones has had something of a profile in London, but outside of B+H, and let’s remember there is a world outside of B+H, there is little of any stature. Any candidate from this City would only limit their ambition to maybe one extra seat in 2015, which would just not be good enough.

    Caroline’s decision may be motivated by good intentions, but she has no need to shore up her chances of re-election, and I suspect she will be a lonely figure on the opposition benches again.

  3. “This is a shrewd move from Ms Lucas…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”

    A shrewd move? For an MP defending a 2.4% majority against a backdrop of an increasingly unpopular Green council, maybe.

    Greeted with dismay? Not at all. Coupled with recent Green defections to Labour it sends out a message of a Party somewhat in disarray.

    But of course senior Greens like Derek Wall are saying this is not a shrewd tactical move but something she had no choice over – the Green Party constitution limited her term as Leader anyway. Funny that no one seemed to know about or anticipate that?

  4. Derek Wall was completely wrong.

    There is a maximum of five terms (of two years each) that means ten years is the cut off point and she’d been leader for four years. She could have carried on for six more years if she’s wanted to.

    This is a good move for her and the Green Party which has the chance to develop more political talent.

  5. Let’s hope that by standing down as the sainted leader we’ll see less of her on our television sceeens.
    The Greens are falling apart.
    What a lovely Monday morning!

  6. Perhaps with a bit more time on her hands Caroline might consider holding some surgeries for her constituents in a location other than her constituency office near the seafront. Brighton Pavilion is a big constituency Caroline. It’s not very ‘Green’ to make everyone travel to you – how about getting out and about to other areas?

  7. advise people to study a bit of the theory of social movements the green party is best understood as a social movement that moved into political sphere(only other real example is the pirate party). this does not mean greens are falling apart it just shows that the party still has some ideas that are odd to people who come from establishement parties. will the bbc now have to start inviting a few different greens on to question time. by the way george galloway is not the leader of the respect party the media just assume he is how many of them will just assume that caroline is still leader any way.

  8. Last May I stood outside Hove Town Hall as the newly-elected and re-elected Green Cllrs took their bows in front of the stills cameras. Looking down to Church Road I saw a TV camera on tripod, reporter and cameraman interviewing Caroline Lucas at the corner with Norton Road.

    I summoned Bill Randall, Ian Davey and Jason Kitcat (I think it was Ian and Jason) and suggested they should go down there to be interviewed. They stood hovering by the taxi shelter but the TV people made it clear they were only interested in Caroline. In that moment I turned and told the Green cllrs what I thought of this and made it clear I expected the media to come to them, not Caroline. She had no valid representative role within the local election….NADA!!!!

    It seemed to me that the media somehow thought the Greens owed this victory to her leadership. Wrong. And I realised the media did not actually realise or understand that it was the other way round nd Caroline owed HER position as MP to the local Green party which had won so many wards all by themselves having done a huge amount of work to achieve it. And she had not twigged that she needed to demurr, to step aside and make a space in front of the cameras for Bill Randall or one of the other Green councillors.

    The impression has been created of a bunch of wannabe’s in her background and it has been massively misleading. I muttered on about this and wandered off really horrified, leaving these councillors standing there with chagrin and dismay on their faces. But I knew they understood what I was saying.

    Unfortunately it just carried on. In the Argus, on the Beeb, everywhere….until now.

    Today we have the Green Party and the lone Green MP understanding that she is a victim of her own success and that the party has been eclipsed and that this could lead to diminishing Party Returns. Wisely she now unblocks the view at the same time as she realises too, no doubt, that the altered constituency boundaries next time mean the entire centre of the city – along the seafront and over to Wish Ward need to have her attention over and above the current Pavilion constituency she represents.

    She is a worthwhile, diligent, MP – regardless of tribal membership – and the media love of her will not subside. But hopefully, the media will now seek out whover takes over as Party Leader to share the spotlight with her, to sit on ‘Any Questions’ and other panel programmes and provide the sound bite responses to issues.

    Her move to step aside is gracious and wise but overdue. I also suspect it is an early warning signal that by year’s end we might be looking at a collapse of the coalition and a General Election.

    • Under questioning on question time etc… Lucas has shown herself as a lightweight… proposing the national equivalents of our very own local ‘meat free monday’ that was rapidly abandoned…

      Any replacement to Lucas will have even less chance of being taken seriously – I look forward to enjoying the Greens slow motion train crash that started when they won Brighton.

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