The Green Party’s national leadership election is due to take place in two weeks, and the bookies’ favourite is Liverpool’s Peter Cranie.
The last European Parliament election proved disappointing for the Greens, as Cranie lost the North West seat narrowly to BNP leader Nick Griffin by a margin of just 5,000 votes out of five million.
Cranie, a further education lecturer, claims the party could win “some seven seats in the next major national elections – the Euro-elections in 2014 – following a succession of near-misses last time”.
By focusing on “job creation and offering alternatives to the austerity agenda”, Fitz-Gibbon believes Cranie is the “strongest candidate”.
The leadership election is a result of Brighton MP Caroline Lucas’s decision to step down. She said the contest will broaden opportunities for the “range of talent” the newer party members have to offer.
Spencer Fitz-Gibbon, Cranie’s campaign media officer, claimed the Green Party is gaining a stronger voice in the North West, by focusing on “job creation and offering alternatives to the austerity agenda”, which Fitz-Gibbon believes makes Cranie the “strongest candidate”.
Earlier this year, however, the Greens, now in control of Brighton Council, were criticised for voting through spending cuts by activists who said they should have refused to set a budget instead.
Also running for the leadership are Pippa Bartolotti, a former fashion designer and leader of the Green Party in Wales, Natalie Bennett, an Australian-born journalist and chair of the Camden Green Party, and Romayne Phoenix, chair of the Coalition of Resistance.
The new leader will then serve a two-year term in office.
By Faye Grima