Remaining and reforming the EU offers the best opportunity to tackle the biggest issues of our times.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I have lived in Lancashire for over 30 years since finishing my European Business degree, which involved a year living in Germany. Professionally, I’ve worked mainly in project management for Public Health within the NHS, including a project with the World Health Organisation, and in the charity sector.
From 1999 to 2007, I was elected to Lancaster City Council and was the Green group’s representative on the Cabinet. I lead the councils partnership work. I have been a Green Lancashire County Councillor for the last six years.
Why did you decide to stand as an MEP this year?
Having supported our lead candidate Peter Cranie in the North West in previous Euro elections, I wanted to build on the support we already have and maximise the profile I have developed from my work as a councillor – and as a campaigner, fighting against fracking on the Fylde, working for ethical investment by Lancashire Pension Fund, and of course on Climate Emergency motions in the Council Chamber.
The skills of being a councillor are transferable to being an MEP. The key challenge is getting the media engaged in reporting our positive messages. I think we are winning that here in the North West
How has campaigning been so far? What level of enthusiasm are you seeing for these elections?
Due to the short time-scale, campaigning has been incredibly busy and demanding, but there are some really satisfying aspects of travelling the length and breadth of the region, from Cheshire to Cumbria, Manchester to Liverpool (and indeed on trips to London for media opportunities!). Meeting lots of inspiring newly-elected Green councillors, along with some lovely enthusiasm from our own members and the public, is a great motivator. And there have been some great little moments when the media interviewer or cameraman clearly wants to let us know they are voting Green.
I would like to acknowledge and thank the work put in by our staff and by our leadership team in supporting candidates. They are doing a great job in testing times.
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?
I think it is best to focus on what we are advocating: that a People’s Vote is the only democratic way forward to get us out of this impasse, and that in another vote there will be a clear steer to stay in the European Union. Remaining and reforming the EU offers the best opportunity to tackle the biggest issues of our times.
Why should people vote Green in the European elections?
The Greens have the most consistent, and clearest solutions for the key issues of the day. Voters can trust us to have the best policies to deal with the climate and ecological emergencies – and we are the strongest UK pro-remain party in the European Parliament with a strong track record of achievements! See our manifesto if anyone needs convincing.
If elected, what would your priorities be for your region on the European stage?
I will look for every opportunity to promote the Green New Deal in our region: to secure investment in jobs in the renewable energy and home energy efficiency sectors, as well via the public sector, and to promote the idea of a transformation of our transport systems – towards truly sustainable transport in and beyond the region’s cities. These actions are a key start to reducing inequalities in the region.