Election results announced

November 24 2006

Siān Berry and Dr Derek Wall elected as Principal Speakers

Dr Derek Wall and Siān Berry have been announced as the two new Principal Speakers of the Green Party of England and Wales.

Their election puts two strong, grassroots campaigners into the Green Party's top positions, providing an ideal platform from which to seize on growing public clamour for political change and real action on issues such as climate change.

Both say they aim to recruit more members and activists into the Party from across the spectrum of single-issue campaigning and traditional party politics.

Siān Berry, 32, a resident of Kentish Town in North West London, is best known for her highly successful campaign against 4x4s which is credited for turning UK public opinion against 'Chelsea tractors' and helping to persuade London Mayor Ken Livingstone to charge gas-guzzlers a £25 congestion charge. She aims to encourage people who currently confine themselves to single-issue social and environmental campaigns to join the Green Party.

She says: "The only solution is to put Green politicians in power and that is why I put most of energy into getting Greens elected."

Dr Derek Wall, 41, is an economics lecturer and author, and is widely respected for his work promoting alternative, socially-based economic models. His most recent book, Babylon and Beyond, looked at the economics of the anti-globalisation and green movements and showed that alternatives to our current economic models are within reach.

He says, "For me, environmental concerns are vital but they can only be solved through social and economic change. That's what the Green Party offers the electorate."

The Green Party does not have a single leader but two Principal Speakers, who act as the party's figureheads, fulfilling the public and media role undertaken by the leaders of more conventional parties. Standing unopposed as Female Principal Speaker, Siān Berry was elected in a vote at the Party's autumn conference in Hove on 24th September. The election for Male Principal Speaker was contested and was decided with a postal ballot of all members, which was announced today.1

Siān Berry said:

"I'm honoured to to have this chance to represent our party. It's by any measure a huge job - promoting the forward thinking ideas and work of our elected representatives from across the country.

"The government is still failing to take the lead internationally on climate change by cutting the UK's carbon dioxide emissions and it's time we stopped waiting. We have had nearly ten years of inaction from Labour, and now they are proposing cuts in emissions that don't go far enough, aren't backed up with annual targets and are not putting forward any of the solutions needed to achieve them.

"The Green Party is your only chance for truth and action on climate change. The environment is a political issue - and if you want to see change and action on climate change it's time to give up on trying simply to persuade the other parties with nice words and petitions. It's time to hit them in the ballot box instead and vote Green "

She added that, with elections next year, Greens would pass the 100 councillor mark:

"The other parties have all abandoned the principles of public ownership of essential services and of decent health, education and housing for all. If you still believe in a fair society, you now only have once choice - vote for Green councillors to make your voice heard."

Derek Wall said:

"I am pleased, flattered and surprised to be elected as Green Party Male Principal Speaker. I have dedicated my entire adult life to the promotion of green politics and regard this as my greatest challenge yet.

"Green politics is the politics of survival. Infinite economic growth is impossible on a finite planet. We must think deeply about how we transform our economy, our lifestyle and our political institutions.

"Green principles of ecology, social justice, non violence and grassroots democracy, are the only way forward for politics. The greenhouse effect is just one symptom of an unsustainable and unjust system.

"For me, environmental concerns are vital but they can only be solved through social and economic change.

"All those who oppose war, especially the suicidal conflict in Iraq, who believe that people are more important than profit, who oppose assaults on civil liberties and care about the natural world, should join the Greens and work for change."

"My success was inspired by the people I consider my mentors especially Nandor Tanczos, New Zealand MP who prefaced my book Babylon and Beyond, and the late Walt Sheasby who sadly died in 2004 as result of the Nile Virus, spread in California by rising temperatures. Walt's commitment to the US Green Party and his activism must never be forgotton."

Former Green Party Principal Speaker Keith Taylor commented: 'I congratulate Siān and Derek on their success, and wish them well over the next year."

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