North East: Rachel Featherstone

Rachel Featherstone is the Green Party's lead MEP candidate for the North East in the 2019 European elections.

Rachel Featherstone, MEP candidate for the Green Party in the North East
Rachel Featherstone


We need a just transition to a sustainable economy and the North East has been left behind for too long.

Can you tell us a bit about your background?

I've lived in Sunderland all my life. I'm a lecturer in research methods at a university in North East England. I'm 42, I have a 20-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son. I've been a member of the Green Party for eight years, I'm coordinator of my local party and a member of the Green Party Regional Council (GPRC).

Why did you decide to stand as an MEP this year?

I thought it was a good opportunity to highlight the urgency of taking action on climate change as well as promoting a People's Vote and raising the profile of our regional party. I feel very strongly that we should remain the EU and wanted to be part of any campaign that would help to secure that result.

How has campaigning been so far? What level of enthusiasm are you seeing for these elections?

Campaigning has been tiring! We've just come out of a successful round of local elections in the North East – we won our first four councillors in the region – so our local activists were looking forward to a bit of a rest! We've done lots of media, made some promotional films, held stalls and done some leafleting. Responses have generally been positive but there are some people who are just tired of politics at this point.  

What is it like campaigning to be an MEP when it’s not clear that UK MEPs will take their seats in the European Parliament?

It's difficult to make plans and to pledge to take action when we don't know if we'll be there at all, for a matter of months or for full five year terms. If we do get elected, we'll have to give up jobs for what could be a very limited time.

Why should people vote Green in the European elections?

We're the only party taking climate change seriously. The EU presents us with opportunities to secure urgent, international action. We're also opposing the austerity agenda in the EU and campaigning to stop the deaths of people in the Mediterranean. For the other Remain parties, the message seems to be stop Brexit, but afterwards carry on with 'business as usual.'

If elected, what would your priorities be for your region on the European stage?

To secure investment in Green jobs and infrastructure for the North East. We need a just transition to a sustainable economy and the North East has been left behind for too long. The Green New Deal we're proposing  could make a huge difference in this region.

Find out more about the other Greens standing in the European elections.