South West Green MEP responds to Leave vote

Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, has expressed disappointment that the UK has chosen to leave the EU. She has said the close result shows people are crying out for democratic reform, both in the UK and in Europe. She said:

“Very many people across the UK will feel a profound sense of shock this morning. Whilst we must acknowledge that many people are discontent with the way Europe functions, the divisions in the Conservative Party and weak campaign by Labour have not helped the case for Europe. The Green Party on the other hand led a clear positive campaign on how our membership of the EU has made us greener, stronger and more secure. I pay tribute to the dedicated members who have campaigned tirelessly over the last few months.  

“What stands out from this referendum campaign is the anger felt by so many people. I have had personal experience of this anger, which has worryingly manifest itself in the politics of hate. I believe this reveals a wider discontentment with the state of our own democracy. While anger has been directed at the EU, it is clear that it is our own broken system that is in desperate need of a fix.

“Around five million voters voted for UKIP and the Greens in the last general election, but are represented by just two MPs. We urgently need to reform our electoral system to make it proportional and representative. Campaigning for electoral reform for our local and general elections will be the first priority for Greens in the post-referendum landscape. We urgently need to heal the divisions created by the referendum; uniting around a campaign for putting our own house in order could help heal these divisions.

“We must also be on our guard. Many leading Leave campaigners are climate sceptics and believe that laws and regulations that safeguard workers’ rights and protect the environment are simply ‘red tape’ preventing business competitiveness. Greens will need to mobilise alongside the Trade Unions, environmental groups and others to defend our hard-won rights at work and environmental protections.”