Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, has announced that she will not be standing again at the next general election. Caroline, a colleague and a friend, is unlike any other politician, and not just because she is, for now, the country’s only Green MP.
For many people, regardless of their politics, this has come as a shock. She’d almost become part of the furniture in Westminster, in a positive way. Always there as a voice for the voiceless, invariably championing issues that no-one else would, and relentlessly raising questions affecting her dear constituents.
I’m lucky enough to have worked for Caroline in different roles. In Brussels when she was an MEP, on her historic first triumphant general election campaign in 2010 and on her subsequent re-election in 2015 which was a ringing endorsement of the mark she had already made.
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She now enjoys a majority of over 50% in her constituency, and so, for the most part, the people of Brighton Pavilion will be sad to see her go. But it is clear that, with her looming absence in Westminster, she will also leave a gaping hole for many people across the country too.
As the sole Green MP, Caroline has had to work differently. Her arrest and subsequent acquittal for a peaceful protest at a fracking site in 2013. She has never been complacent and brings people together for the sake of both the planet and those who inhabit it.