16 March 2017
Caroline Lucas's speech if full is here: "
"It’s a great pleasure to be here today in the heart of the Gorton constituency and in such a warm and welcoming local community.
It’s an equally great pleasure to be announcing that the Green Party’s candidate will be Jess Mayo, a woman who is passionate about standing up for her community.
In the last general election, Greens came 2nd in Manchester Gorton and are the only Party who can win this seat from Labour.
The only Party able to offer genuine, principled and consistent leadership on everything from Brexit to tackling the housing crisis. From investment in a publicly owned NHS and in hospitals like the Royal Infirmary, to proper funding for local schools.
Here in Manchester Gorton, the majority voted to remain in the EU and are being let down by Labour’s lily livered capitulation to Theresa May’s extreme version of Brexit.
Nobody here voted to take Britain out of the single market or to rip up all the benefits of membership. Indeed I have no doubt that people heard the Leave campaign repeatedly promise our membership of the single market would be safe if we left the EU.
And while there’s no denying that, outside of London, the benefits of EU membership were not shared widely, the challenge is to do that via the kind of strong local economy and investment in public services that Jess would be fighting for as your MP.
A Green vote on May 4th would be one for a close relationship with the EU, not the dangerous, damaging cut adrift version that the Tories and Labour have set in motion.
Manchester is a city that’s been enriched and grown thanks to free movement and immigration. Jess won’t stand by and let the language of hatred and scapegoating divide people from their neighbours. Community cohesion matters to her and she’d work hard to support brilliant projects like Trinity House, where we are today. Projects that bring people together and make them feel safer. That make everyone feel like they belong.
Nobody voted in the EU referendum for students and young people being denied the right to study and live abroad either. Another Labour MP – in a party at sea over Brexit – won’t be heard by a Government ploughing onwards with their extreme agenda.
But a Green MP in Manchester Gorton will stand up for young people’s chance of a forward and outward looking future, as well as for their right to fully funded quality education at all ages.
Jess would not promise to scrap tuition fees then vote to increase them.
Nor would she back anything other than long overdue investment in housing. As the skyscrapers go up in Manchester city centre, it’s vital that the people of Gorton aren’t overlooked. The Labour council has had decades to tackle the lack of council housing and other affordable homes but it’s let you down.
It’s had decades to get to grips with rising private sector rents too – they keep going up and now account for more than half the average household’s disposable income. A Green MP would campaign to cap rents in line with what’s affordable, benefitting students and other renters alike, from Whalley Range to Levenshulme to Bellevue.
Labour have also had decades to improve the environment here in Gorton – and precious little has been done on that either. This year the Greater Manchester Urban Area has breached safe limits for nitrogen dioxide. Yet both the Tory Government and Labour councils like the one here in Manchester have been shockingly complacent about the problem.
Air pollution is a killer and the traffic on roads like Stockport Road is responsible.
If Jess were elected to Parliament, she’d be campaigning for a Clean Air Act to protect the public from poor air quality when we leave the EU.
Labour in Manchester has the power put a levy on diesel and to make front-line institutions, such as hospitals, schools and care homes, clean air zones so the most vulnerable people are not exposed to dangerous pollution. Yet they haven’t.
Jess is the only candidate who can be trusted to make local people’s health a priority.
And she can be trusted to genuinely put you first.
Gerald Kaufman was a well-respected local MP and we pay tribute to him and to the Green Party’s former metro mayoral candidate Deyike Nzeribe today.
Both embodied the kind of strong commitment to community and public service that Jess Mayo stands for.
The Tories are hell-bent on an extreme Brexit, Labour are in disarray nationally and have a poor track record on what matters locally. The Lib Dems are languishing in fifth place here, struggling to regain trust after their role in the Coalition Government.
So the choice is simple. On May 4th, the people of Gorton will have a chance to vote Green as a real alternative to the bigger parties. A chance to vote Jess Mayo for positive solutions and a brighter, safer, greener fairer, future."