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Greens vow to be ‘tough on Brexit and its causes’ at EU election campaign launch

Greens co-leader Jonathan Bartley said politics is paralysed. Credit: PA

Voters at the European elections should ignore the Liberal Democrats and Change UK and back the the Green Party to be “tough on Brexit and the causes of Brexit”, according to the party’s co-leader.

Speaking at the Greens’ European election campaign launch in Islington, north London, on Wednesday, Jonathan Bartley said: “Every MEP elected from our brilliant team of candidates will be a commanding voice calling for what this country needs now: a people’s vote.

“Politics is paralysed, people are ready for something new.

“We need to go back to the people to get politics moving again.”

Jonathan Bartley said polls show the party is right up there. Credit: PA

Mr Bartley, who shares the leadership of the Greens with Sian Berry, said that while two other parties were also campaigning for a second referendum, the vote was unlikely to “split” because of the proportional representation electoral system used at the European elections.

“There are three Remain parties, there are four Leave parties. That’s the way this election is broken down,” he said.

“The European elections are run under PR. The danger of splitting the vote is significantly less in these elections than it would be under a first-past-the-post Westminster election.

“Polls are all over the place at the moment. Some put us in the lead, some don’t.

“But if you take the aggregate polls, we’re right up there.

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“At the last election, we got more seats than the Lib Dems.”

The Green Party is campaigning on a pro-EU, anti-climate change ticket for the election on May 23.

It hopes to capitalise on its success in last week’s local elections – when Greens gained 185 council seats – by improving on its current total of three MEPs secured in 2014.

Suggesting that the UK could remain in the EU well into the 2020s, the party’s only sitting Westminster MP Caroline Lucas told the Press Association: “People should not be viewing this as a proxy referendum.

“It’s actually a serious election where you could be electing MEPs that could be representing you for five years.

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“That’s why it is important to look at the position of parties on Brexit, and we have been clear we want to stop Brexit through a People’s Vote.”

Ms Lucas added that the Extinction Rebellion protests that blocked roads in London last month have boosted support for the Greens.

More than 1,500 people joined the party over the bank holiday weekend.

She said many had never been on a demonstration before, “much less been arrested”.

“So many stories about what Extinction Rebellion is about really made it clear that the people that were on the streets were not some kind of stereotypical swampy characters.”