Brexit could usher in an opportunity for more radical policies on climate change, food systems, and habitats, argued the Green Party’s EU relations spokesperson.
Speaking at the Green Party Autumn conference on 3 September, MEP Molly Scott-Cato stressed that the party is still “pro EU” and echoed calls made the day before by new co-leaders Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley for a second referendum once the exit package has been negotiated.
However, the MEP said that while Brexit was not “an ideal option”, the party could use it as a chance to put forward “more radical polices that when you’re in the EU, people say [are] just not possible”.
“It gives us a good opportunity to argue for the sustainable, much more localised food systems, and much more environmentally sustainable farming systems that we’ve always supported,” said Scott-Cato at the ‘Brexit: What Now?’ discussion on Saturday evening.
The party has a role to play in the defence of environmental legislation against “many of the Tory right who fought for Brexit”, she said.
“They precisely wanted to leave the European Union so they could leave the single market and destroy that legislation. Whether it’s about climate change, whether it’s about workers’ rights, all that stuff they referred to as red tape – they see hard Brexit and leaving the single market as an opportunity to get rid of all of that.”
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She said it was vital the party worked closely with research provided by NGOs to “help make arguments we’re making.”
“It will be particularly useful when it comes to protecting what was protected under habitats directive and issues of climate change and so on. For those key environmental threats we need the support of the NGOs and I think we’ll have it.”
But she stressed that first and foremost the Greens will remain pro EU and argue to remain in the single market.
“There is an enormous amount of legislation that comes as part of the single market that we value very highly: legislation to protect our environment, legislation to protect workers’ rights.”
Photo: Molly Scott-Cato MEP via Flickr