Caroline Lucas, the MP for Brighton Pavilion and the only elected member of the Green Party, visited the University of Sussex for the first time since her re-election in May.
Turnout was impressive for the Q&A hosted by the Students’ Union & Politics society, which took place last Wednesday (30th September).
Caroline introduced herself in a very strong, but casual way taking a seat on the desk of the lecture hall welcoming first years to Brighton, calling it the ‘greenest city’ in the UK.
Caroline highlighted her plans to better students in the local constituency by putting pressure on the bus services to give a reduced fare to students.
On the bigger scale, she reinstated her position of student fees and their abolishment through a small tax on the 4% largest businesses in the UK to make up the deficit.
The questions started very strongly, it was undeniable the audience were as passionate and as knowledgeable as Caroline to promote a more green manifesto.
A question arose about her response to Green voters potentially becoming Labour voters. In response, Caroline said she was very impressed with Corbyn’s approach to the environment calling it ‘refreshing’ and thoroughly supported his promises to renationalise the rail service.
She added that her vision was to see ‘Labour and the Green party to work in an effective way’. However, she did say that those who voted Green at the last election should stick with the party rather than defecting to Labour, saying: “We are bringing something new to the table”.
More topically, she was quizzed about her view on the refugee crisis and she had highlighted a number of times that it is indeed a crisis that needs to be addressed.
Caroline believes that the UK is not doing enough as a whole but we cannot start a ‘bidding war’ where we try to determine what the correct amount of refugees allowed in the UK should be.
Lucas said: “Building higher fences and walls does not stop refugees’ attempt to come into the country, they will merely be more injured”.
The questioning begun to turn more hostile however when Caroline was attacked that her view about tackling the ISIS threat does not do enough to combat them.
Ms Lucas defended her stance that a more democratic approach is required, saying that the use of military action would effect turn the UK into a ‘recruiting agent’ where our actions can be painted as being a violent imperial force for the so-called Islamic State to gain support.
The entire session was finished in one hour however in this hour it was clear to conclude that the new generation of politically conscious citizens in Brighton were as concerned about the environment and problems we face around the world.
The session was a very well run and organised event by the student union who should be praised for their effort.
Only time will tell if Caroline’s support for the Labour party and promises to address local and international problems will continue over the next five years.
By Kyle Farrell