Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has warned of a plot by leading rightwing Brexiteers to ditch EU food and safety standards that would allow the import of US meats, drugs and chemicals currently banned in Britain.
Revelations of the plot emerged mistakenly on the website of the Initiative for Free Trade organisation, which was founded by hard-Brexit advocate and Tory MEP Daniel Hannan. They call for Britain to recognize US standards which are weaker than those adopted by the EU and could result in chlorinated chicken and hormone-reared beef from the US being sold in the UK.
Dr Scott Cato, a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, said this confirmed her worst fears for farmers and food producers in the South West:
“For many rightwing conservatives, Brexit has always been about tearing up high EU standards on food safety, environmental protection and animal welfare, under the guise of freeing the UK from ‘red tape’. Farmers and food producers in the South West will rightly feel deeply concerned about pressure to ditch these higher standards. Any trade agreement with the US which allows for the import of food and drugs produced without these current safeguards will threaten the viability of many small-scale farmers and food producers. They simply could not compete with the mega-farms and giant corporations of the US”
“Like so many of the promises made by Brexiteers during the referendum campaign it is clear that the promise to protect farmers and high-quality food is being broken in secret talks behind closed doors. This revelation also destroys the credibility of Michael Gove's promise to ensure a 'Green Brexit'. As more evidence emerges of the risks of a Tory Brexit we continue to demand a referendum on the final deal with the option to retain all the protections that membership of the EU offers.”
Molly Scott Cato recently launched a website which identifies the Brexiteers she describes as the ‘regulation burners’. Those identified as wanting to “whittle away” EU rules and remove the “burden” on business include Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Mayor refuses to come clean on ex-chief executive pay-off
Green councillors have said they are concerned and frustrated that Bristol's Labour Mayor refused to answer questions at yesterday's Full Council meeting about the controversial pay-off of the Council's ex-chief executive. A report into the severance package found that there was a lack of transparency over the £196,000 pay-off provided. The Mayor refused to answer questions from councillors and the public on why the administration chose to pay the full pay-off and why the payment decision did not go to the HR committee unlike other payments to departing senior officers.
Did Mayor lie about ex-chief executive pay-off?
Greens councillors will be asking the Labour Mayor next week why the Council’s ex-chief executive received a £196,000 severance package, half of which was discretionary, following a report that confirms their concerns over the process used and it’s lack of transparency.
Mayor must take action on fossil fuel funds
Green Councillors have submitted a motion to next Tuesday’s Full Council meeting (19 March) calling on Bristol’s Labour Mayor to meet with the head of Avon Pension Fund and discuss divestment of funds away from fossil fuel industries within 5 years. Despite a similar Green motion passed in 2015 (1), the Avon Pension Fund continues to hold significant investments in fossil fuel industries. A recent UN study found that resource extraction industries are responsible for half of the world’s carbon emissions and more than 80% of biodiversity loss. (2) Bristol’s branch of local government union UNISON (the second largest union in the UK) also backs the campaign for pension fund divestment.
Bristol Greens back return of student climate strike
Thousands of students are expected to strike over climate action once again this Friday 15 March in Bristol. Green councillors welcomed the news and praised young people for putting the Climate Emergency on the agenda.
Job Advert: [Paid] Campaigns Manager Wanted
The Bristol Green Party is looking for a Campaigns Manager to help elect Sandy Hore-Ruthven as the UK’s first Green Mayor. You will be an experienced campaigns manager and have a commitment to Green values. The role will build the groundwork for an effective campaign for the elections in May 2020. Deadlines for applications is the 21st of March.
Green Group Leader's letter to the Prime Minister
As Bristol’s Labour administration voted through a budget which takes millions from adult social care and children & families services, Eleanor Combley, Leader of the Green Group, wrote to the Prime Minister to demand an end to the “triple whammy of cuts” hitting local authorities.
Green Councillor - Labour incompetence to blame for bin collection delays
Over 200 streets in Bristol were recently impacted by bin and recycling collection delays of as much as two weeks due to the failure of ‘worn-out’ vehicles due to be replaced.
Greens refuse to vote for Labour’s ‘no action’ budget
Bristol Green councillors have abstained from voting for the Labour administration’s budget at the budget council meeting this evening. While Councillors passed successful amendments, they said the budget overall was still not good enough, lacking key action on critical areas and continuing the rollout of cuts to services voted through by Labour in the 2018 budget.
All Green amendments at today's Budget meeting
Green Councillors have proposed 5 amendments to this evening's budget meeting at full Council. They include taking action towards carbon neutrality by 2030, creating more housing and providing better bus services.
Greens: scrap City Hall perks and pay foster carers more
A Green amendment to be debated at Bristol’s budget council meeting this evening proposes to increase allowances for in-house foster carers at Bristol City Council, funded by scrapping free parking perks for councillors and reducing the size of the budget for the Mayor’s Office.
Greens present budget amendments to create more housing and save money
Green Councillors have proposed measures to Bristol’s budget meeting tomorrow that would create additional council housing and independent housing for adults with social care needs – while saving the council hundreds of thousands of pounds per year.
Fund climate change adaptation, stop fly-tipping and tackle local flooding
Green councillors have submitted an amendment to next week’s budget which funds practical measures to address a wide range of challenges in Bristol, both local and city-wide. Proposals include a scheme dubbed the “puddle police” which identifies problem drains across the city to reduce local flooding, tougher enforcement action on fly-tipping, and development of a 12 year plan to make Bristol carbon neutral by 2030.
Accusations of racism within Bristol City Council
We are deeply concerned at the contents of the report and condemn unequivocally any racism taking place within the council. We regard it as completely unacceptable that any officer should feel enabled to behave in a way which is discriminatory, or that any culture of bigotry should be tolerated.
Bristol needs “Clean air, not hot air Mr Mayor”
Bristol Greens have condemned the Mayor of Bristol for his failure to meet a deadline to produce a Clean Air Plan. The plan was supposed to be written by the end of 2018 and Bristol Council was given until 21 February to respond.
Bristol's Green MEP arrested in anti-nuclear bombs protest
Bristol's Green MEP for the South West, Molly Scott Cato, is one of three MEPs arrested after breaking into a Belgian military airbase to protest against its stockpiling of American B61 nuclear bombs
People and Power: Populism, Fascism, and How to Defend Democracy
A recording of Bristol's Green MEP recently talking on People and Power: Populism, Fascism, and How to Defend Democracy
Plans for £6m+ a year investment into buses at no cost to the Bristol taxpayer
Green councillors in Bristol and the Green Party Mayoral Candidate for 2020 have put forward an amendment to Bristol City Council’s budget to be discussed at the Council Budget meeting on Tuesday 26th. The amendment proposes a £6.5m annual investment in buses, making them more affordable, improving reliability, speed and numbers of routes, to be funded through a congestion charge on cars from outside the city.
School climate strike children’s brave stand has our support
We are inspired that our children, spurred on by the noble actions of Greta Thunberg and other striking students, are making their voices heard, say 224 academics
"Voices of young people must be heard"
Green councillors have called for Bristol’s Mayor, Bristol City Council and local teachers and parents to support those students choosing to join this Friday’s school strike on climate change. On Friday 15th February, school children from across Bristol will be taking part in the first nationwide ‘Youth Strike 4 Climate’ inspired by the actions of 16 year old Greta Thunberg in Sweden. This Friday, many of Bristol’s schoolchildren will be joining the 70,000 schoolchildren from 270 cities and towns across the world who have been taking part in ‘Fridays for Future’ demanding that politicians take action to confront the climate emergency.
Mayor must end support of airport expansion
"How can Mayor Marvin Rees unequivocally support the expansion of Bristol Airport (BBC Sunday Politics 3rd February), when he has voted for a Green plan to make Bristol carbon neutral by 2030 and has tasked council officers to explore how to achieve this aim. Their report won’t be due until May, so on what evidence is he making this decision?
Bristol's Green Lord Mayor to save money, cut pollution with new hybrid car
Green Lord Mayor of Bristol, Cllr Cleo Lake, has a new hybrid car for her Mayoral vehicle after the expiry of the lease on the previous diesel vehicle
Bristol Council buys new home for children in care thanks to Green budget amendment
An item coming to Bristol Council Cabinet today approved the purchase of a home for children in care, putting a budget amendment introduced by Green Group leader Councillor Eleanor Combley into practice.
Last chance to have your say on “reckless” airport expansion
There is one week left to respond to a public consultation on Bristol Airport’s expansion plans, which closes on 26 January
Government threatens legal action against Bristol Mayor over poor air quality
Government threatens legal action against Bristol Mayor over inaction on poor air quality
Bristol Green councillor named politician of the year
Councillor Carla Denyer (Clifton Down) has been named politician of the year by The Big Green Political Podcast.
Green condemnation of death threats to mayor and deputy mayor
"Westminster is now in gridlock" says MEP after Brexit vote
Responding to last night’s defeat for the government in the Brexit vote and today’s vote of confidence in the government, Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, said: “Westminster is now in gridlock. The failed leadership of Theresa May and weak or non-existent opposition from Labour’s front bench has brought us to a crisis; one which our politicians seem unable to resolve. That is why the only way forwards is to go back to the people.
Bristol Green Party welcome two city MPs supporting a People’s Vote
Senior Bristol Green Party representatives have today warmly welcomed Darren Jones MP and Kerry McCarthy MP’s publicly stated support for a 2nd Brexit referendum alongside 69 of their parliamentary colleagues but have expressed ‘bitter disappointment if not surprise’ that neither Thangam DebbonaireMP or Karin Smyth MP signed up to the call.
Labour wasting council time with attacks and “self-congratulatory cheerleading”
At a Bristol Full Council meeting today, Green councillors criticised the Labour group for wasting valuable policy space with a 'self-congratulatory' motion, and tabled amendments to the motion which would have committed all councillors to protect valuable Council services in forthcoming budget.
BRISTOL GREENS CALL FOR A PEOPLE’S VOTE ON BREXIT
BRISTOL GREENS CALL FOR A PEOPLE’S VOTE ON BREXIT