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Greens say it 'should not be a crime' to join IS or Al Qaida

The leader of the Green party has stated that supporting or joining terrorist groups like Islamic State and Al-Qaida should not be a crime.

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett says people should not be punished for their opinions. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Speaking on BBC's Daily Politics show, Natalie Bennett said that people should be free to think what they want and support who they want, though warned that anyone inciting or committing acts of violence would still feel the "full extent of the law".

"What we want to do is make sure we are not punishing people for what they think or what they believe," she said.

Bennett also spoke about plans to reduce the army - replacing it with a smaller home defence force.

She added that the Greens would progressively ease immigration controls.

"What we have to do is stop the race to the bottom on immigration rhetoric that we have been hearing, led by Ukip and sadly followed by the other [parties]," she said.

Broadcasters 'have joined age of multi-party politics'

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett has welcomed reports her party will be included in the election debates hosted by ITV and the BBC.

She said the broadcasters have "joined the the age of multi-party politics".

Natalie Bennett said she welcomed the Broadcasters revised leaders' debates proposals Credit: Max Nash/PA Wire

The political landscape is fracturing and fewer and fewer people want the business-as-usual politics offered by the traditional Westminster parties.

This is the Green Spring.

The broadcasters much-needed re-think means that our policies that can bring real change to Britain - from bringing the railways back in to public hands to a £10 minimum wage by 2020 to zero university tuition fees – will now be heard far more widely

The Green Party would like to thank everyone who contributed to the tremendous #InviteTheGreens campaign that I am sure had an impact on this outcome.

– Natalie Bennett, Green Party leader


Green Party membership has doubled since January

Natalie Bennett appeared on Leaders Live last week. Credit: Max Nash/PA Archive

The Green Party has announced that its membership has doubled in the last 11 months.

The surge in support for the party - including an increase of around 500 this weekend following Natalie Bennett's appearance on BBC Radio 4's Any Questions - took it to 27,618 members this morning.

The party claims it is also polling at its highest levels ahead of a General Election since 1989, and says it is committing to stand in 75% of constituencies in May - a dramatic increase on 2010.

Bennett - who kicked off Bite the Ballot's Leaders Live season last week - described the growth a "real landmark" and said many of those joining are former Labour and Liberal Democrat members.

Green party leader looking forward to 'direct contact with voters'

Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party, has said she will value having direct contact with young voters when she kicks off the Leaders Live events on Wednesday 26th November.

It is great to have this chance to reach a wide range of voters who mightn't usually engage with traditional politics in newspapers or broadcast media, particularly younger voters.

I chose the issues that I hear, when I speak to groups of young people, are of most concern to them. I value this format because it is going to allow direct contact with voters. Streaming online has an immediacy and accessibility that's refreshing - great to reach people wherever they are.

– Natalie Bennett, green party


Green party leader predict 'big shifts' in British politics

British politics is heading for "big shifts" in the next few years as voters abandon mainstream parties in the search for "new answers", the leader of the Green Party in England and Wales said.

Natalie Bennett was speaking as activists gathered for their autumn conference in Brighton.

Green Party leader in England and Wales Natalie Bennett. Credit: Press Association

Ms Bennett rejected suggestions the rise of the UK Independence Party had sidelined the Greens from their former position as the fourth party in British politics, insisting it marked a general shift in politics away from traditional party loyalties.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, she said she had been told that in many cases voters were "talking about Ukip and Greens in the one breath".

"Obviously our policies are very different, but people are looking for new answers, and we are going to see big shifts in British politics in the next few years," she said.

"What we are seeing is very much a shift away from the three largest parties."

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