Green Party
Carla Denyer served as Bristol's City Councillor for nine years. @CarlaDenyer via Instagram

An environmentalist and activist, Carla Denyer has made significant strides in her political career. Named the most popular candidate for the Green Party in 2019, Denyer's journey reflects her unwavering commitment to environmental and social justice causes.

Denyer and Adrian Ramsay have co-led the Green Party since 2021. After serving as a Bristol City Councillor for nine years, from 2015 to 2024, she has now set her sights on a larger goal: leading the Green Party. Her decision to resign from her council position underscores her dedication to this new endeavour.

Denyer faces a daunting task in securing the Bristol Central seat. She needs to achieve a 30-point turnaround to win. Despite this, her strong performance in the 2019 election, where she finished second to Labour's Thangam Debbonaire in the Bristol West seat, shows her potential. Recent polls suggest that Denyer might soon serve as an MP for Bristol, a city she has called home for the past 15 years.

Denyer's activism goes beyond environmental issues. She is a staunch advocate for social justice, defending renters' rights, access to essential services and public transport. However, her most profound commitment is to the fight against climate change. In an interview with the Big Issue, Denyer stated, "I need to dedicate the rest of my life to trying to stop climate change. That's a given. I think Bristol has long felt like a green city. What kept me is the very progressive, little bit rebellious spirit of the city." This unwavering dedication to the cause of climate change resonates particularly with younger voters, who are increasingly concerned about the climate crisis.

A recent YouGov poll between 31 October 2023 and 17 January 2024 revealed that the Green Party had become the second most popular party among people under 30 since Denyer assumed co-leadership. The Green Party's appeal to young voters is evident, with their campaign being 9% more popular than the Conservative Party and 12% ahead of the Liberal Democrats. Denyer believes this popularity surge is significant given the political landscape.

"Since we're almost definitely going to have a Labour government after the next general election, the decision for both voters in Bristol Central and lots of other constituencies as well is: do you want a 100% Labour government where Starmer can do whatever he wants, and keep U-turning on all those policies? Or do they want a Labour government with a handful of Green MPs there to keep them honest and to pull them in the right direction on the areas where they're not so hot?" she asked.

Despite the youth's preference for the Labour Party, with over 50% of 18-24-year-olds planning to vote for Sir Keir Starmer in the upcoming general election, Denyer notes a shift. Many of her regular campaigners are former Labour supporters. "You might think it was one big reason like Gaza or the £28 billion U-turn, but for most people you speak to, it's the cumulative effect of all of those," she explained. "They'll say things like 'I was just hanging on with my fingernails, giving them one last chance, and then this happened, and I was like right, that's it, I'm going to go and get Carla elected'."

Denyer also highlighted the Green Party's fiscal policies, claiming that their "really quite modest tax reforms" could generate £50 billion per year by the end of the next parliament. This contrasts sharply with Labour's now-defunct £28 billion plan. "It's about honesty and bravery," she added. Denyer plans to prioritise the housing crisis, equal representation, and robust climate policies if elected as an MP. Despite their broad values, the Greens remain symbolised by their iconic logo, which constantly reminds them of the climate emergency.

Denyer warns that complacency towards climate change will lead to unforeseen challenges. "A changing climate is going to make life harder for farmers, make it harder to grow good quality, nutritious, affordable food in this country," she explained. "I think, probably, most farmers understand that very well because climate change is no longer a thing that's happening in the future; it's happening in the present, so they're already seeing the results of that."

She emphasised that climate change is not just about having hotter summers and wetter winters. It will impact every aspect of the economy, society, and well-being. "But I think it's not something that's often talked about on the news or in the general public," Denyer continued, "that climate change is not just about having hotter summers and wetter winters; it's going to affect every aspect of our economy and our society and our well-being."

Carla Denyer's journey from a dedicated city councillor to a leading figure in the Green Party highlights her commitment to creating a sustainable and just future. Her advocacy for social justice and climate action, combined with her increasing popularity among young voters, positions her as a formidable force in British politics. As she continues her campaign, Denyer's vision for a greener, fairer society offers hope and inspiration for many.