Exclusive: Green MEP Alexandra Phillips Visits Southampton on Tour

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The sole Green Member of European Parliament for the South East of England, Alexandra Phillips, has visited Southampton city centre on her Green New Deal Tour across the region.

In her first visit to the city since her election in May, Alex Phillips arrived outside the civic centre in a green solar-powered electric tour bus to promote her European Green New Deal and answer questions from the public. On the #GreenNewDealTour, her team is visiting at least one area in each of the nine counties she represents in the South East, with Southampton being the chosen location for Hampshire. 

She announced her report, focused on the Green New Deal, was launched on the Isle of Wight on Monday, which has specific focus on the Isle and Dover. She opened with an address stating:

[O]n the Isle of Wight; with the right amount of political will and injection of cash we could at least quadruple the number of green jobs on the Isle of Wight. It’s really well positioned in terms of tidal power, solar, offshore wind. But also there are real pockets of deprivation on the island as well, high unemployment compared to other parts of my region, so it’s really well positioned for this industrial revolution transformation that we need.

She went on to say that the Green New Deal has been long-established in the Green Party, with MP Caroline Lucas being involved in its launch in 2007 as part of the Green New Deal group alongside economists. She stated it was ‘bizarre’ that it wasn’t taken up then, ‘given the economic situation’, nor when it was re-launched in 2013. 

In the European Commission, the President of the Commission has launched her work plan, and a big part of that is a New Green Deal. and I think she wouldn’t have taken that up at all if we hadn’t elected so many Greens to the European Parliament in May. We are there with a clear green mandate, there at 75 of us who sit in that group, and we’re the fourth largest group in the European Parliament.

After speaking to those who came to welcome her, including the Airport Expansion Opposition campaign and Friends of the Earth Southampton, she went with campaigners along the high street in the city centre to talk to her constituents and hand out flyers to inform the public about the Green New Deal.

In part of an interview, she said:

[M]y focus really has been about tangible implementation of a Green New Deal across the South East and what that means in different places, and in the report I’ve looked at two places. One of them is the Isle of Wight and the other one is Dover. Now they both have some levels of deprivation higher than the rest of the region, higher levels of unemployment than large parts of the region, and they’re very well placed geographically for this type of industrial revolution so it has been quite interesting some of the findings that we’ve found already in terms of our case studies and so fourth

Also at the event was third year Philosophy and Politics student at the University of Southampton, Catrina Bowen, who is one of the students trying to set up a Green Party Society on campus. When asked why they were setting up a Green Society, Catrina responded:

“The main reason is that we think it’s something that is really underrepresented. We have Conservative Association, Lib Dem Society, Labour Society but there isn’t a Green Society – there hasn’t been for a few years now – and student engagement in these kind of issues is actually really important. It makes a really big difference to local politics.”

The first meeting was Monday 28th October 6pm in Building 34, room 5003. In attendance were both students and local Green Party members, including Katherine Barbour, the candidate for Southampton Test.

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Natural Sciences student and News & Investigations Editor 2019-20.

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