In the 2010 General Election, Caroline Lucas made history when she was elected as Britain’s first Green Party MP for the Brighton Pavilion constituency. Hailed as a champion for individual rights and defender of the common people, the former Green Party leader promised to give environmentalists and staunch liberals a voice in Parliament, and many hoped she would signal the start of a political revolution. Lucas was well aware that being the first Green MP gave her the change to bring real legitimacy and mainstream success to the Greens.
What I hope to do here is detail some of the major votes and events that Lucas has been involved in, to see if her pre-election promises and campaigns have lived up to expectation. Lucas aside, the Greens only made minor gains in this year’s EU elections, gaining only 1 MEP seat to bring their total to 3. Clearly they have a long way to go before they gain any significant power, but each Green MP in Parliament hopes to add further legitimacy to their cause. Has Lucas brought that legitimacy?
(Lucas is arrested for protesting at a fracking test site)
A handful of her recent escapades:
- Supported a measure that condemned the BMA for calling for an end to NHS-funded homeopathy, despite the fact that homeopathy has been declared completely ineffective by scientists across the globe.
- Officially declared her support for the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, a grass-roots movement designed to push back against the government’s austerity movements.
- Arrested for trespassing and obstructing a public highway at a fracking test site, later found not guilty.
- Tabled a bill that would make PSHE a compulsory requirement of schools, in order to tackle STIs and teen pregnancies.
- Argued that GCHQ has been violating the Wilson Doctrine by spying on MP’s, ahead of revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
- Called for an end to the “draconian” laws that stop gay men from donating blood.
- Agreed to listen to cannabis users who claim that the decriminalization of cannabis for medical purposes is necessary for better care. Also called for an “evidence-based” approach to marijuna policy.
- Accused the Daily Mail of sexism after they ran a fashion special on the female Cabinet Ministers.
(Lucas breaks Parliamentary dress code during a debate about sexism in the media)
Lucas’ voting record:
- On tuition fees, Lucas voted against the infamous £9,000 rise in tuition fees and in 2012 she voted for a £6,000 tuition fee cap, paid for by reversing corporate tax cuts.
- On LGBT rights, same-sex marriage became a cornerstone of the Cameron-Clegg government when a bill to implement same-sex marriage was put before Parliament in 2013. Lucas consistently voted for the bill throughout 2013 and 2014 until it was finally passed.
- On civil liberties, Lucas voted against repealing the Human Rights Act, and voted against a rushed bill that would increase government surveillance powers.
- On military intervention, Lucas voted against sending more troops to Afghanistan in 2010, voted against establishing a no-fly zone across Libya in 2011, and voted against possible military intervention in Syria in 2013.
- On the touchy subject of Britain’s EU membership, Lucas voted for a referendum in 2011.
- On welfare, Lucas has consistently voted against cuts to benefits spending on many occasions, voted for higher disability benefit spending, and has voted against the bedroom tax.
- On business, Lucas voted against measures to prevent tax avoidance, and voted against lowering the corporate tax rate.
- On the environment, Lucas has been highly conservationist. She voted against selling England’s public forests, voted against the badger cull, and voted for most measures to reduce the effects of climate change.
Caroline Lucas is running for re-election. You can visit her website here.