The green alternative

natalie+bennett

The Green Party could benefit from an “anti-Ukip” vote in this Thursday’s elections, its leader, Natalie Bennett says.

The Greens have pushed the Liberal Democrats into fifth place in the polls and could treble their number of MEPs if that is replicated in voting this week. Ms Bennett, speaking after touring seats in the North-west on Friday, said many people were saying they had been compelled to turn out and vote to “stop Ukip” because they did not like Nigel Farage’s hard-line message.

Only a 1.6 per cent swing to the Greens would mean they would increase their tally from two MEPs to six. The party is particularly popular among the young – although turnout is low among this age group.

Ms Bennett claimed that Labour voters in the North-west were switching to Greens, while in the South-west her party was picking up support from Lib Dem voters. In traditional Conservative heartlands, some people were voting Green because of fears about fracking.

She told The Independent on Sunday: “This is a PR election, every vote counts. The three large parties are offering business as usual. Politicians really have to change.

“There is a definite feeling that the Lib Dems have sold out. With Labour voters, a lot of people are feeling that Labour is so wishy-washy and close to the Tories. On Twitter, quite a lot of people say they are voting green because of the green-belt issue.

“There are people who haven’t voted for many years. They are considering voting for us as the anti-Ukip vote. Among the young, we are the only people saying disadvantaged young people should not be paying for the mistakes of the older generation.”

Ms Bennett agreed with criticism of the “zombie Parliament”, which has arisen because the five-year fixed term has left MPs with little to debate or legislate. “It has become very clear that five years is too long.” While the Greens have just one MP in Westminster, Caroline Lucas, they are hoping to pick up support on an anti-politics platform from the opposite side of the mainstream to Ukip. Ms Bennett is pushing to take part in the general election TV debates. She said: “We have to be present in the debates if they are to have any credibility.”

original article by Jane Merrick in the Sunday Independent here

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