Putting people at the heart of politics is what has always motivated me and there has never been a more crucial time to do this than at these elections.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I was born and raised in Liverpool and joined the Green Party in 2003. From the moment I joined the Greens I knew this was my political home and soon became very involved in the Young Greens. I moved to Brighton in 2008 and was privileged to be elected as the city’s youngest councillor at the age of 24 in 2009. I’ve previously worked for Caroline Lucas during her time as an MEP and as a Senior Organiser during her successful General Election campaigns.
Why did you decide to stand as an MEP this year?
For the last decade I have placed myself in the heart of the local community in Brighton, building links with local charities, businesses and activists. That’s the type of politics that I believe will help the Greens return not just one seat in the South East but at least two. Putting people at the heart of politics is what has always motivated me and there has never been a more crucial time to do this than at these elections. I also want to make a big impact and as a Green I believe that the European Parliament is where I can make the most tangible change.
How has campaigning been so far? What level of enthusiasm are you seeing for these elections?
Across the South East we are riding on the success of the Greens most successful local elections in the 40 year history of the party. From Bedford to South Oxfordshire and along the coast to Folkestone, the Green surge is happening. In Thanet, which UKIP was poised to take at the 2015 general election, the Greens snapped up three seats on the council. There is a real sense of optimism across this region, not just among Green activists but across those communities, many of which are affected by austerity, that are now embracing the positive message that we have to offer.
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?
These European elections are the most crucial the country and arguably the whole of the EU have ever staged. The very fact that the term of the UK’s MEPs is unknown gives me and my campaigning team zeal to fight to end this uncertainty and ensure that we can remain in the EU. That’s what I believe is one of the things at stake at these elections.
Why should people vote Green in the European elections?
It’s only the Greens that have a pro-EU message underpinned by social and environmental justice. Other pro-EU parties simply offer business as usual; they don’t want real change for Europe, which is one of the very reasons for this Brexit backlash. They are not providing voters with solutions to address many of the concerns they have for their communities, their jobs and their families. That’s why the Greens have launched an ambitious manifesto outlining how we can start looking forward again to get us out of Brexit, stop climate change and inequalities, and put some joy back into our politics.
The South East is the UK’s closest region to mainland Europe and yet if we are dragged out of the EU we stand to be one of the hardest hit. Parts of our region are closer to France than to London and that should serve as a reminder of how vital it is to keep those close ties so we can tackle some of the biggest challenges we face, together with our European partners. The answer to these challenges is not Brexit; Europe is part of the answer.
If elected, what would your priorities be for your region on the European stage?
When I speak to people across the South East about the state of our politics, they want something different – they want an alternative to the mess that we are in. That’s why my vision for the South East in the EU is one of ambition.
Ambitious on securing a Green New Deal across Europe that could help stop the climate change chaos by countries pulling together and implementing bold solutions. Ambitious on social justice to ensure the very best protections for workers and end the scourge of poverty that affects too many families across the South East. And ambitious for a better way of doing politics that puts people at the heart of decision making, not big business.