Wales politics

European elections 2019: Vote not just about Brexit, say Greens

Green Party Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Greens are one of several anti-Brexit parties standing in the EU elections

The European Parliamentary elections are more than an unofficial rerun of the 2016 EU referendum, the leader of the Green Party in Wales has said.

Anthony Slaughter said his party had been at the "forefront" of the campaign for another poll to try to stop Brexit.

He added it had been a "pleasant surprise" that people during this campaign wanted to talk about climate change and not just Brexit.

The Greens have never won a Welsh seat in the EU parliament or the assembly.

Cynog Dafis was elected in 1992 as MP for Ceredigion on a joint Plaid Cymru-Green ticket.

But the Greens, who support a further referendum on the UK's membership of the EU, have never won a Welsh seat in the House of Commons in their own right.

Image caption Anthony Slaughter said the Green Party is "growing in Wales"

Asked about the party's poor electoral record, Mr Slaughter said: "We are growing in Wales and I'm confident we're going to see very, very good results in Wales in this election.

"On the doorstep, we're getting a really good feeling and people aren't just talking about Brexit, which has been a pleasant surprise, a lot of people want to talk about climate change and the climate emergency is very much on people's minds at the moment.

"For a very long time, we've been the party with real policies and real plans to tackle this problem and people recognise that."

Mr Slaughter said the Greens "have seen a massive surge in membership and interest" since recording a good result in the English council elections at the start of May.

In July 2018, 65% of Green Party members in Wales voted against a split with the English Green Party.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Green Party has backed a further referendum on the UK's membership of the EU

Mr Slaughter, the party's lead candidate in Wales for the European Parliament elections, said it was "inevitable and desirable" that a split would happen in the future "but our members didn't feel it was the right time last year".

The party has been criticised for having an all-male slate of candidates in Wales for the elections on 23 May - Anthony Slaughter, Ian Chandler, Ceri Davies and Duncan Rees.

Mr Slaughter said: "That was unfortunate, I think it was down to the timing... because we do have mechanisms in place to correct that and we didn't have the time to do that this time.

"I would argue that our record on gender equality is very good.

"At the last assembly election four of our five lead candidates were female.

"We will be taking steps to make sure it doesn't happen again."

The European Parliament elections in Wales

Image copyright Getty Images

There are eight parties fighting for four Welsh seats in the European elections on 23 May.

Welsh Labour, the Welsh Conservatives, Plaid Cymru, the Welsh Liberal Democrats, UKIP and the Green Party are joined by Change UK and the Brexit Party.

You can find a list of candidates here.

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