For a fleeting moment Brighton's Green MP thought she might become a minister

Posted On 30 Dec 2010 at 5:57 pm

Caroline Lucas has spoken about her breakthrough as Britain’s first Green MP in an interview on the PM programme on BBC Radio 4.

She described it as an amazing privilege to represent Brighton Pavilion at Westminster having already been a Member of the European Parliament (MEP).

She was asked about the days after the election in May when there was talk of a rainbow coalition.

Did she think that as a new Green MP she might find herself part of the government?

Yes, she said, fleetingly! But the numbers were stacked against the idea and, she added, Labour appeared to have lost its appetite to stay in office and wanted to regroup.

She said that she backed voting reform, with a referendum scheduled for Thursday 5 May if MPs and lords support a bill paving the way for a national vote on the subject.

The referendum will ask whether Britain should replace its first-past-the-post system with the alternative vote method of electing MPs.

She also urged changes to the way that MPs vote in the House of Commons.

Ms Lucas said that the Commons used a crazy system and that she was not alone among the big intake of new members in wanting it reformed.

She said that some older MPs say: “You’ll get used to it.”

But she said that was her fear – that she would get used to it.

She said that running from her office to the voting lobbies at the sound of the division bell – which rings each time a vote takes place – wasted about 250 hours a year.

At a time when the government was trying to eliminate waste in public life, she said that it was a good time to bring in reforms to end this waste of MPs’ time.

She said that as the only Green MP she woke up every day trying to work out how best to use her time while she had such an amazing privilege.

Ms Lucas agreed that environmental issues had slipped down the agenda because of the financial crisis.

But she said that she did not accept that it was impossible to cut the deficit and to be green.

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