2 March 2016

In her speech to the party's Spring conference in Harrogate this weekend Green Party leader Natalie Bennett attacked the 'Leave' campaign for playing on voters' fears about the EU.

 

She said the current debate was 'short on facts and big on playing on fears of insecurity'. The Greens were instead, she said, committed to 'arguing to remain in Europe by focusing on the positives of Europe .'

 

The 'Leave' campaign would, if successful see 'Britain turn away from its geography, away from its proud history of offering refuge to those in need, away from cooperation and friendship. As a result a decision to leave the EU would see 'Britain not just damaging itself, but damaging the rest of Europe, and the world.'

 

Natalie said, 'We need many reforms in Brussels, but then we need many reforms in Westminster. That’s not an argument for giving up on democracy, despite the fact we’ve now got a government with the support of just 24% of eligible voters.'

 

She cautioned voters against using the referendum as a means of expressing their distrust of the government and politics in general saying 'We must not allow the “out” campaign to use general dissatisfaction, distrust for our undemocratic government, fear for the future – drive a vote to leave the EU.

 

Adding that 'the EU vote isn’t a vote of no-confidence in this government, much as that’s deserved. It's a vote on our long term future.'

 

Other party leaders also gave their vision of what a reformed EU would look like.

 

Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas said ''The EU needs to be more transparent and democratic - as does the House of Commons'. We need democratic reform in all our institutions, which are creaking at the seams'

 

Green Party MEP Keith Taylor said the European Parliament needs to be strengthened and given greater power to scrutinize the activities of the European Commission and called for an end to the practice of moving the parliament between Brussels and Strasbourg.

 

In their 2014 publication 'Close the Gap' the Electoral Reform Society put forward a number of suggestions for reforming the EU. These include allowing parliament to scrutinize the government's negotiating position before meetings of the European Council, putting in place a mechanism for involving the public in developing EU legislation, and for parliament to hold a Speaker's Conference on strengthening its role in European democracy.