Greens seek ‘progressive alliance’

Published: Friday 6th March 2015 by The News Editor

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The Green Party is aiming to build a “progressive alliance” involving the SNP in parliament, members will be told today.

Natalie Bennett will tell activists gathering in Liverpool for the party’s spring conference they will create a political system “that puts the public first”.

The party leader will say that a ” strong Green group of MPs at Westminster” can offer a “message of hope and real change”.

More than 1,300 activists are expected to attend the conference at Liverpool’s ACC, making it the largest event the party has staged.

Ms Bennett, who will use her speech to focus on the economy, climate change and the NHS, will hope the event will help to draw a line under an embarrassing interview last month in which she appeared unable to answer questions about key policies.

After a grilling on LBC, which saw her repeatedly lapse into silence, have coughing fits and complain of a “huge cold”, the leader admitted she suffered an “excruciating mind blank” and apologised to party members for her performance.

The party is planning to field candidates in 509 constituencies and is focusing on 12 key target seats at the general election on May 7.

It has ruled out entering a coalition in the event of a hung parliament in May but is “open to” supporting a Labour minority government.

Caroline Lucas, the party’s first MP, will say: ” With the rise of the SNP, and with our own Green surge, we have the chance to forge a new grouping in Parliament. A progressive alliance.

“Of course, in Scotland and in Wales we’ll be fighting hard for our distinctive values and policies. Just as we do against those individual Labour and even Lib Dem candidates with whom we have something in common.

“That’s the nature of British politics under the first past the post system.”

Nearly half of the activists expected to attend the conference are new members who have joined in the last year and around 30% are under 30 years old.

The party has been recording similar levels of support to the Liberal Democrats in polls, and has seen its membership surge to more than 55,000.

Published: Friday 6th March 2015 by The News Editor

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