The newest – and solely the second – Inexperienced member of the House of Lords has pledged to be an activist peer and proceed to participate in protests over fracking and different points – seeing arrest as a possible occupational hazard.
Natalie Bennett, who was the social gathering’s chief for 4 years, together with on the 2015 election, conceded that like her solely predecessor as a Inexperienced peer, Jenny Jones, she would stay an outsider in a chamber that she and her social gathering wish to abolish.
“The job is to ensure you don’t get too at dwelling there,” she mentioned. “However I’m additionally going to nonetheless be at anti-fracking camps, on the market protesting for refugee rights. It’s about listening to all of these voices and representing them within the chamber. So long as you do not forget that. And it’s a cushty place to be when you’re making different folks uncomfortable.”
This might even contain becoming a member of the very small membership of friends to be arrested for civil disobedience, she mentioned. “Jenny was arrested after which de-arrested. It received’t be one thing I’ll be getting down to do, however I’ll nonetheless be very a lot on the streets. It received’t be my goal however I’m not saying it received’t occur both.”
Bennett, a former journalist – including for the Guardian – who grew up in Australia, mentioned she was a seemingly unlikely peer in different methods. “I used to be born the kid of a 19-year-old apprentice carpenter and an 18-year-old homemaker, who lived in a one-bedroom flat in a poor space of Sydney,” she mentioned. “You wouldn’t have predicted that’s the place I’d find yourself.”
She has a level in agricultural science and mentioned a part of her give attention to the local weather and environmental emergency would come with areas akin to land use and meals safety. That is prone to embody motion over the environmental impression of pushed grouse capturing, one thing Labour has additionally pledged to review – and which may deliver Bennett into opposition with landowner friends in her new office.
“It’s excessive, abusive land use, however it’s an emblem of how we now have to vary the entire of land use,” she mentioned.
Bennett, who nonetheless has to debate with Lords officers which a part of Sheffield, the place she lives, she is going to use for her title, famous that whereas the Greens now had three parliamentary representatives – her and Jones within the Lords, and Caroline Lucas within the Commons – this was nonetheless zero.2% of the mixed whole of MPs and friends for a celebration that took 12% of the vote in Might’s European elections.
She mentioned a key a part of her message within the Lords, other than its abolition, could be wider democratic reform akin to proportional illustration, as the present electoral system had created many issues.
“Folks have to be represented. And the 2016 referendum end result was a direct results of the first-past-the-post electoral system. Folks really feel like they hadn’t been listened to for many years and don’t have any management in their very own communities.”
One benefit of the chaos over Brexit, she mentioned was the tempo of political change. “It’s completely unpredictable political occasions. One factor I believe is sweet information is the best way issues at the moment are is profoundly unstable. The established order is not going to proceed.”