Mon. Dec 4th, 2023

Carla Denyer says she’ll be the first-ever green congresswoman in Bristol

Carla Denyer said she would become the second Green Party MP in the next general election. The Green Party co-leader made this claim in an interview with Left foot forward at the party’s spring conference.

Denyer is the Green candidate for Bristol West (or Bristol Central if new boundaries are in place by the time of the next election). The seat – currently held by Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire – is one of the Green Party’s main targets. In 2019, the Greens came in second, garnering nearly 25 percent of the vote.

Saying that things are looking “really positive” in the parliamentary campaign, Denyer says that “there seem to be a lot of people contacting me and telling us on the doorstep that they voted for Labour last time and they’re voting for us this time”. She acknowledges that there are “still a lot of undecideds,” and that there are “a lot of people who really like what the Greens have to say, but they’re currently maybe because they’re not yet reassured enough that they can safely vote Green and there’s no risk of letting conservatives in.

But according to Denyer, this argument becomes easier to make. She points to the fact that the Greens are now the largest party on Bristol City Council after a by-election victory and that 17 of the 20 councillors representing wards in the parliamentary constituency are now Greens. Denyer argues that it is “really easy to reassure people that they have to vote for Labour to keep the Tories out” because “there are literally no Tories here.”.

Making that case means “spending a lot of time knocking on doors, talking to voters one by one and delivering compelling material that lets people who already know they agree with the Green Party know they can safely vote Green in Bristol West or Bristol Central and they have a great chance of getting Bristol’s first Green MP.”. But Denyer also says that the likelihood of a Labour victory in the next election opens up new arguments for the Greens. Presenting an argument to the voters, she says: “Would you rather Labor have total control with Starmer able to introduce any policy it wants, relatively unchallenged? Or would you prefer a Labour government that is pulled in the right direction, stronger on social and environmental policy by a few more Green MPs ? ”

The Greens have only ever elected one MP – Caroline Lucas at Brighton Pavilion.

Despite these challenges, Denyer is nevertheless confident. When asked if she would be the first Green Party MP in Bristol, she simply said, “Yes.

The upcoming election will reveal whether this is well-founded confidence or overweening hubris. Winning the parliamentary seat will be a tough challenge, requiring the Greens to overturn a Labour majority by nearly 30,000 votes. But with a growing number of voters turning to the Greens in Bristol and some opinion polls giving the party as much as 10% of the vote nationally, there is a growing sense that this could well happen.

Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward