Who are the Green Party leaders? Guide to Jonathan Bartley and Sian Berry's careers so far

Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley outside their party's headquarters in south east London following the Green Party leadership election result. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images)

By Charlie Duffield

Ahead of this year’s general election on December 12, the Green Party has launched its manifesto with ambitions to tackle the climate emergency, as expected, and increase funding for the NHS.

In the 2017 general election, the party’s portion of the national vote more than halved to 1.8 per cent, compared with 3.8 per cent in 2015.

Yet in 2019 the Green Party have had their best year ever, following local and European elections when they secured 362 local councillors and seven MEPs.

Following the departure of Natalie Bennett in 2016, who now leads the party?

Jonathan Bartley and Siân Berry were elected as co-leaders of the Green Party on a joint ticket in 2018.

Green Party co-leaders Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley deliver their speech during the Green Party Spring conference in June 2019 (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

Read more: Why is the UK having a general election in 2019?

Who is Jonathan Bartley?

For Jonathan it’s his second term, as he previously served for two years as Green Party co-leader with Caroline Lucas.

He joined the Green Party in 2010, after bumping into the former Conservative Party leader David Cameron. In a memorable exchange whilst waiting for a hospital appointment at the Evelina Children's Hospital with his son Samuel, he confronted the future Prime Minister regarding Conservative Party manifesto pledges. In Bartley’s view, these perpetuated the segregation of disabled children.

Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley speaks during the Green Party Autumn Conference on October 4, 2019 in Newport, Wales. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Mr Bartley has a passion for social justice and studied Social Policy at the London School of Economics. From 1994-1998 he worked in parliament on a cross-party basis; he later became vice chair of the Electoral Reform Society and vice chair of Yes to Fairer Votes campaign during the 2011 referendum.

He was the General Election candidate for Streatham in 2015, and increased the Green vote locally fivefold. As a committed local activist, he also ensured the first green councillor was elected in Streatham.

In the May 2018 local elections, Mr Bartley was elected as councillor for St Leonard’s ward in Lambeth - and outside of politics, he was nominated for the Blues Drummer of the Year Award in 2010.

Read more: How does the voting system work in a UK general election?

Who is Siân Berry?

Siân joined the Green Party in 2001 after studying material sciences at university, with a particular passion for fighting global capitalism and climate breakdown.

From 2011 she worked as a campaigner at the charity Campaign for Better Transport for four years; this involved supporting local communities and campaigns to stop new roads destroying the countryside.

She succeeding in winning new funding for walking and cycling from the government.

Ms Berry has stood for the Greens in council elections in Camden, her home borough, since 2002 and in 2014 was elected to Camden Council.

Green Party Co-Leader and Member of the London Assembly Sian Berry delivers her speech during the Green Party Spring conference in June 2019 (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

She has been the Green candidate for the Mayor of London twice, in 2008 and 2016, and served as deputy chair of the Police and Crime Committee on the London Assembly. She’s currently chair of the Housing Committee.

Ms Berry has advocated for numerous issues on behalf of Londoners; in 2018 a successful campaign by her and resident groups spurred the Mayor to dramatically alter his policy and create a new right for residents on estates to have a ballot over demolition plans.

Read more: How many seats do you need to win a general election?

What do they want to achieve?

Both leaders want to move economic policy away from a preoccupation with growth, and focus more on well-being, whilst ensuring climate change is at the pinnacle of the political agenda.

At the campaign launch for the Green Party on Wednesday 6 December, Ms Berry said “some things are even bigger than Brexit” and called this the “climate election”.

The party has pledged to invest £100bn a year into climate action over the next decade, and wants to make Britain carbon neutral by 2030.

In October, Mr Bartley was arrested for obstructing a highway whilst taking part in the Extinction Rebellion protest.

Protesting on his birthday he said: "We cannot go on with subsidising fossil fuels, we cannot go on with our road building programme, we cannot go on even with our nuclear programmes."

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