Caroline Lucas

Caroline Lucas
Caroline Lucas MP
Leader of the Green Party of
England and Wales
Assumed office
5 September 2008
Deputy Adrian Ramsay
Preceded by Office Created
Female Principal Speaker of the
Green Party of England and Wales
In office
10 August 2007 – 5 September 2008
Preceded by Siân Berry
Succeeded by Office Abolished
In office
5 April 2003 – 20 June 2006
Preceded by Margaret Wright
Succeeded by Siân Berry
Member of Parliament
for Brighton Pavilion
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by David Lepper
Majority 1,252 (2.4%)
Member of the European Parliament
for South East England
In office
14 June 1999 – 6 May 2010
Preceded by Constituency Created
Succeeded by Keith Taylor
Personal details
Born 9 December 1960 (1960-12-09) (age 50)
Malvern, Worcestershire, England
Political party Green Party of England and Wales
Spouse(s) Richard Savage
Alma mater University of Exeter
University of Kansas
Website Official website

Caroline Patricia Lucas (born 9 December 1960) is a British politician. Lucas is the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, and the Green Party's first and only Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. She was elected for the Brighton Pavilion constituency at the 2010 general election.[1][2]

Lucas was formerly a Member of the European Parliament for the South East England region. Along with Jean Lambert she was one of two Green MEPs from the UK, a post she held from 1999 to 2010. As a result of the restrictions regarding dual mandates, she had to give up her seat in European Parliament to take up her seat in the House of Commons. Keith Taylor succeeded her in this position.[3]

She is noted for campaigning and writing on green economics, localisation, alternatives to globalisation, trade justice, animal welfare and food. In her time as a politician and activist, she has worked with numerous NGOs and think-tanks, including the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), Oxfam and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.


Early life

Lucas was born in Malvern in Worcestershire, to middle class and Conservative-voting parents.[4] Her father ran a small central heating company.[5]


Lucas was educated at Malvern Girls' College (which became Malvern St James in 2006), an independent school in Great Malvern. She then went to the University of Exeter, where she gained a first-class BA (Hons) in English Literature, which she completed in 1983.[6][7] While there, she went on many trips to Greenham Common and Molesworth when involved with CND. She took a scholarship at the University of Kansas between 1983 and 1984 before doing a Diploma of Journalism in 1987. She earned her PhD from the University of Exeter in 1989 with a thesis entitled Writing for Women: a study of woman as reader in Elizabethan romance.[8]

Political career

Early activism

Lucas began her career as an activist in the anti-nuclear movement with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). She was heavily involved in the Snowball Campaign against US military bases in the UK.[9]

Green Party politician, MEP and MP

After joining the Green Party (UK) in 1986 (later renamed the Green Party of England and Wales), Lucas had stints as the party's National Press Officer (1987-89), Co-Chair (1989-90), General Election Speaker (1991-92) and Party Regional Council Member (1997-99). She would later hold the post of Female Principal Speaker from 2003 to 2006 and from 2007 onwards.[8] Her first electoral success came when she won the Green Party's second council seat in the UK on Oxford City Council, which she held between 1993 and 1997.[9]

Lucas was first elected as a Member of the European Parliament for the South East England Region at the 1999 elections, the first year the election was by proportional representation. In that year the Green Party gained 7.4% of the vote (110,571 votes). She was re-elected in 2004, gaining 173,351 votes (7.9% share), and again in the 2009 election when the party's vote under the list system rose to 271,506, or 11.6%.[10] In the European Parliament, she is or has been a member of the Committee for Trade, Industry, Energy and Research; the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy;[9] the Committee on International Trade; and the Temporary Committee on Climate Change.[8] In addition, she is or has been Vice-President of the Animal Welfare Intergroup, a member of Intergroups on Peace Issues and Consumer Affairs, a member of the Parliament's Delegation to ACP (African Caribbean, and Pacific) Countries,[9] and a member of the Delegation for Relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council.[8] As part of her committee work, she was the Parliament's Rapporteur (draftsperson) on a Commission Communication on the impact of air transport on the environment, and the Vice-President of the parliament's committee of inquiry into foot and mouth disease.[9]

Brighton Pavilion had seen the highest vote to date for a Green Party candidate when Keith Taylor, a former Green Party Principal Speaker, won 22% of the vote in the 2005 general election. In 2007, Lucas declared her intention to stand for the Green Party's nomination for the prospective parliamentary candidate in the Brighton Pavilion constituency for the next general election. In a letter to party members, Lucas made it clear that she would only stand if she won the internal party selection election by more than 10%, to avoid internal division. She described the move as "the most difficult decision of my life", due to "personal and family commitments" but also her "loyalty and commitment to Keith Taylor, who is a person and a politician for whom I have great admiration and respect".[11] On 18 July 2007, it was announced that Lucas had been selected by the Brighton Green Party. Lucas won with 55% of the party ballot against Keith Taylor's 45%.[2] Lucas was elected as the Green Party's first-ever MP in the general election of 2010. However, she is not the first Green Candidate to be elected under a first-past-the-post electoral system, as this was Jeanette Fitzsimons of the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand in the Coromandel Electorate in 1999.

Caroline Lucas speaking about the Green New Deal in Oxford, in 2009

In July 2008, Lucas joined the Green New Deal Group, an alliance of experts in finance, energy and the environment. The group put forward plans to invest in green energy, provide greater regulation of the finance sector, and strengthen ties between environmentalists, industry, agriculture, and trade unions. The proposals were put forth in response to fears over the recession, climate change, and increasing energy prices, and stressed the need for integrative policies towards tackling all three.[12]

In July 2010, Lucas expressed her support for seven acquitted campaigners of the Smash EDO campaign who caused £180,000 damage to an EDO MGM arms factory under the lawful excuse defence because the company manufactured and sold certain components used by the Israeli military. Lucas stated that: "I am absolutely delighted the jury has recognised that the actions of the decommissioners were a legitimate response to the atrocities being committed in Gaza. I do not advocate non-violent direct action lightly ... [but] their actions were driven by the responsibility to prevent further suffering in Gaza." [13]

She is a supporter of homeopathy, having signed an early day motion in support of its continued funding on the National Health Service sponsored by Conservative MP David Tredinnick.[14]

Non-political career

As well as her party political activities, Lucas has worked extensively with developmental NGO Oxfam as Press Officer (1989–91), Asia Desk Communications Officer (1991–94), Policy Adviser on Trade and the Environment (1994–97) and Team Leader for Trade and Investment (1998–99).

Green Party leadership

Lucas was a candidate in the Green Party of England and Wales leadership election, 2008. On 5 September she was elected as the party's first ever leader. Lucas won 92.4% of the vote (standing against one other candidate, Ashley Gunstock), with a turnout of 37.9%.

Non-party activism and advisory roles

Currently, she is vice-president of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)[15] and the Stop the War Coalition[16] and has been on the National Council of CND since 2004.[17] She has been an Advisory Board Member to the International Forum on Globalisation, the Centre for a Social Europe[8] and the Protect the Local, Globally think-tank.[3] She has been a Trustee of the Radiation Research Trust and Patron of the Joliba Trust (Africa). She is Matron of the Women's Environmental Network. Between 1997 and 1998, she was called upon as a Policy Adviser on Trade and Investment for the UK government's Department for International Development.[8]

In August 2010 Lucas endorsed an eBook collection of political poems entitled Emergency Verse - Poetry in Defence of the Welfare State edited by Alan Morrison [18]


Caroline Lucas speaking as the first Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales at its autumn conference in 2008.

In her time as a politician and activist, Lucas has won the 2006 Michael Kay Award "for her outstanding contribution to European animal welfare" from the RSPCA.[19] She was named in the Top 10 of the New Statesman Magazine Person of the Year Award 2006, which was voted for by New Statesman readers, alongside varied personalities including Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Shami Chakrabarti, Director of the civil liberties NGO Liberty. This was considered surprising because many of the other members of the Top 10, including 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, had been nominated and profiled by prominent writers in the magazine in the weeks before the vote.[20]

Lucas has won the award for Politician of the Year in The Observer Newspaper Ethical Awards three times. The award is voted for by Observer readers, who chose her to win in 2007, 2009 and 2010. In 2007 she had been shortlisted alongside Gordon Brown and David Cameron.[21][22][23] In 2008 she was listed by The Guardian as one of "50 people who could save the planet".[24]

In July 2007, Lucas came in eighth place in the New Consumer Magazine Top 100 Ethical Heroes list, behind a number of celebrities including fashion designer Katharine Hamnett (who came 1st), Anita Roddick (The Body Shop founder), Al Gore (former US Vice-President who is now a campaigner for action on climate change) and Jonathon Porritt, a former Green Party politician. The list was designed to recognise people who "made the biggest contribution to ethical consumption over the last five years". According to New Consumer magazine, "if you had to trust one person with changing the world you could do worse than rely on Lucas".[25] During the same month, BBC Wildlife magazine named her in their Top 50 Conservationists, which was topped by Prince Charles.[26]

In October 2008 Lucas was winner in the Trade category of The Parliament magazine MEP Awards 2008.[27] The awards are voted for by MEPs and NGOs. In April 2010 Lucas won Best UK Politician in The Independent Green Awards[28] and in November 2010 she was awarded "Newcomer of the Year" in The Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year awards.[29] In July 2011 she was awarded "Best all-rounder" in the Total Politics End of Year MP awards[30] and in September 2011 she was awarded "MP of the Year" in the Women in Public Life Awards 2011.[31]


Lucas has become a prolific writer of reports, articles and books on the subjects of trade justice, localisation, globalisation, animal welfare and food, in which she is critical of free trade, a Single European Currency, trade-led developmental policies, genetically-modified (GM) food and a lack of attention to environmental and social issues.[3] Her most notable work is Green Alternatives to Globalisation: A Manifesto (co-authored with Mike Woodin), which advocates localisation of economies based on minimal trade and greater social and environmental concern, in opposition to neo-liberal, market-led forces of globalisation.[32]


Caroline Lucas keynote speech at the autumn conference of the Green Party of England and Wales with Councillor Rupert Read looking on, Hove, 2006-09-23
  • Liam Fox (Author), Caroline Lucas (Author), Raymond Lygo (Author), Hugh Beach (Author), Nick Grief (Author), Steven Haines (Author), Clare Short (Author), Tim Hare (Author), Ken Booth (Editor), Frank Barnaby (Editor), The Future of Britain's Nuclear Weapons, 2006 ISBN 978-0951136195
  • Lucas, C. P., Woodin, M., Green Alternatives to Globalisation: A Manifesto, 2004 ISBN 978-0745319339
  • Lucas, C. P., Global Warming, Local Warning: A study of the likely impacts of climate change upon South East England, 2004
  • Lucas, C. P., Towards a GM free Europe: Halting the spread of GMOs in Europe, 2003
  • Jones, A., Lucas, C. P., Local Food: Benefits and Opportunities, 2003
  • Lucas, C. P., Time to Replace Globalisation, 2001
  • Lucas, C. P., Which way for the European Union: Radical Reform or Business as Usual?, 2001
  • Hines, C., Lucas, C. P., Stopping the Great Food Swap: Relocalising Europe's Food Supply, 2001
  • Lucas, C. P., From Seattle to Nice: Challenging the Free Trade Agenda at the Heart of Enlargement, 2000
  • Lucas, C. P., Woodin, M., The Euro or a Sustainable Future for Britain? A Green Critique of the Single Currency, 2000
  • Lucas, C. P., Watchful in Seattle: World Trade Organisation threats to Public Services, Food and the Environment, 1999
  • Lucas, C. P., Reforming World Trade: The Social and Environmental Priorities, 1996
  • Coote, B., Lucas, C. P., The Trade Trap, 1994
  • Lucas, Caroline (1989). Writing for Women: The Example of Woman as Reader in Elizabethan Romance. Open University Press. pp. 176. ISBN 0-335-0917-6. 

Personal life

She married Richard Savage in July 1991 in Oxford. They have two sons. She had a house at Stonesfield, between Charlbury and Woodstock, for five years. [33]

See also


  1. ^ Harris, John (8 February 2010). "Could Brighton Pavilion elect Britain's first Green MP?". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 28 April 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Greens Pick MEP Lucas to Run for MP, Brighton Argus, 18 July 2007
  3. ^ a b c Dr Caroline Lucas MEP's Biography on her own website
  4. ^ "Caroline Lucas: the Green in beige who could be Nick Clegg's nemesis". The Daily Telegraph (London). 3 September 2010. 
  5. ^ "Green Shift". 4 February 2005. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  6. ^ "Caroline Lucas: the Green in beige who could be Nick Clegg's nemesis". The Daily Telegraph (London). 3 September 2010. 
  7. ^ Assinder, Nick (1 April 2005). "Interview: Caroline Lucas". BBC News. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Dr. Caroline Lucas MEP, in the European Parliament.
  9. ^ a b c d e Dr Caroline Lucas MEP, Green Party of England and Wales
  10. ^, BBC News
  11. ^ "Greens battle to be the first MP", The Argus, Brighton, 14 June 2007
  12. ^ "UK needs a 'Green New Deal'". 20 July 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2009. 
  13. ^ van der Zee, Bibi; Evans, Rob (2 July 2010). "Brighton MP declares support for acquitted Gaza campaigners". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  14. ^ Tredinnick, David (29 June 2010). "Early Day Motion #284 British Medical Association Motions on Homeopathy". 
  15. ^ "Patrons and vice-presidents". RSPCA. 
  16. ^ "Steering Committee & Officers". Stop the War Coalition. 
  17. ^ "Green MEP Re-elected To CND National Council". Green Party. 
  18. ^ The Recusant eZine
  19. ^ RSPCA Presents Lucas With ‘Michael Kay’ Award For Animal Welfare Work, Caroline Lucas's website, 27 June 2006
  20. ^ Person of the Year: NS Readers' Choice, New Statesman, 18 December 2006
  21. ^ Who cares wins..., The Guardian
  22. ^ The Observer Ethical Awards 2009, The Guardian
  23. ^ Observer Ethical Awards: Caroline Lucas, Ethical Politician Award, The Guardian
  24. ^ "50 people who could save the planet". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 July 2011. 
  25. ^ Top 100 Ethical Heroes, New Consumer
  26. ^ Caroline Lucas named in top 50 conservationists and top 100 people to have contributed to ethical consumption, Green Party of England and Wales
  27. ^ MEP Awards 2008 Winners
  28. ^ The Green Awards: Our experts celebrate those doing most to protect our fragile environment, The Independent
  29. ^ Parliamentarian of the Year award recipients 2010, The Spectator
  30. ^ "The End of Year MP awards". Total Politics. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  31. ^ "Women in Public Life Awards 2011". Dods Parliamentary Communications Limited. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  32. ^ Michael Woodin and Caroline Lucas (2004). Green Alternatives to Globalisation. Pluto Press. pp. 262. ISBN 0-7453-1932-7. 
  33. ^ "Oxford Mail". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Margaret Wright
Female Principal Speaker of the Green Party of England and Wales
Succeeded by
Siân Berry
Preceded by
Siân Berry
Female Principal Speaker of the Green Party of England and Wales
Position abolished
New office Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
David Lepper
Member of Parliament for Brighton Pavilion

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