Like Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, Exeter Green Party is deeply disappointed that the UK has chosen to leave the EU.Molly says the close result shows people are crying out for democratic reform, both in the UK and in Europe:
“Very many people across the UK will feel a profound sense of shock this morning. Whilst we must acknowledge that many people are discontent with the way Europe functions, the divisions in the Conservative Party and weak campaign by Labour have not helped the case for Europe. The Green Party on the other hand led a clear positive campaign on how our membership of the EU has made us greener, stronger and more secure. I pay tribute to the dedicated members who have campaigned tirelessly over the last few months.
“What stands out from this referendum campaign is the anger felt by so many people. I have had personal experience of this anger, which has worryingly manifest itself in the politics of hate. I believe this reveals a wider discontentment with the state of our own democracy. While anger has been directed at the EU, it is clear that it is our own broken system that is in desperate need of a fix.
“Around five million voters voted for UKIP and the Greens in the last general election, but are represented by just two MPs. We urgently need to reform our electoral system to make it proportional and representative. Campaigning for electoral reform for our local and general elections will be the first priority for Greens in the post-referendum landscape. We urgently need to heal the divisions created by the referendum; uniting around a campaign for putting our own house in order could help heal these divisions.
“We must also be on our guard. Many leading Leave campaigners are climate sceptics and believe that laws and regulations that safeguard workers’ rights and protect the environment are simply ‘red tape’ preventing business competitiveness. Greens will need to mobilise alongside the Trade Unions, environmental groups and others to defend our hard-won rights at work and environmental protections.”
A message from Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader:
As the Green Party we cannot hide our disappointment at this result having campaigned strongly for a vote to Remain. But, we have to listen to the expressed view of the British people.
We must now turn our attention to the task at hand: unifying our divided communities after an extraordinarily bitter period in British politics.
The extraordinary level of alienation against our mainstream politics is evident in this vote. The public have today rejected the views of the parties represented by 98% of our MPs in Westminster.
There is a very clear division in the results, with very different votes in different parts of Britain. We need to listen to the generally more economically disadvantaged communities who have voted to out, and take real action to improve their conditions as soon as possible.
And with our sister party in Scotland launching a petition for a reconsideration of Scotland’s relationship with the EU, we need to acknowledge that the vote there was very different to that in England and Wales.
We clearly need real change – not just the change that will come in our relationship with our neighbours, but internal change. Our government, which has the support of just 24% of eligible voters, is clearly unrepresentative.
To help fix this democratic deficit we need electoral reform for the House of Commons to help build a more representative, inclusive democracy.
We have seen throughout the past decade the scapegoating of migration for the many pressing problems of Britain in our financially struggling communities, austerity-hit public services and damaged natural environment.
The Green Party will continue to stand up for the principle of free movement of people, And we need to acknowledge that many people from Continental Europe now living in Britain, and Britons living in the rest of Europe, will be facing a period of great uncertainty.
We pledge to continue to stand up for migrants and to demonstrate how the free movement of people has enriched people’s lives both in Britain and beyond.
We will re-double our efforts to protect our NHS and public services from privatisation and safeguard and enhance environmental protections.