This is the text of the open letter that has gone from the Green Parties of England, Wales and Northern Ireland to Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Farron and Leanne Wood urging talks about a progressive alliance.
In a spirit of openness and transparency, we are writing to you as Leaders of parties which oppose Brexit, to invite you to a cross-party meeting to explore how we best rise to the challenge posed by last week’s vote to leave the EU.
Britain is in crisis and people are scared about the future. Never have we had a greater need for calm leadership to be shown by politicians.
We have a UK Government in chaos, an economy facing a crisis and people up and down the country facing serious hardship. There is an urgent need to make a stand against any austerity and the slashing of environmental legislation, human and workers’ rights that may come with Brexit.
With the growing likelihood of an early General Election, the importance of progressive parties working together to prevent the formation of a Tory-UKIP-DUP government that would seek to enact an ultra-right Brexit scenario is ever more pressing.
This is an opportunity to recognise that a more plural politics is in both the Left’s electoral and political interests. This crisis exposes the absurdity of our first past the post electoral system. Just 24 per cent of those eligible to vote elected the government that called the referendum. The only fair way to proceed is to have a proportional voting system where people can back the politicians who they believe in, rather than taking a gamble and not knowing who they will end up with.
The idea of a progressive alliance has been floated for several years, and proposals have once again been put forward in the context of the current crisis. We believe that the time has come to urgently consider such ideas together in the context of a Westminster Government. We recognise the very different political situation in Scotland, given the strongly pro-EU majority there. We hope that co-operation between progressive parties their can ensure that this mandate is respected, and we will support them to keep all options open.
We look forward to your response,
Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales
Alice Hooker-Stroud, Leader of Wales Green Party
Steven Agnew MLA, Leader of the Green Party of Northern Ireland
Caroline Lucas MP, Brighton Pavilion