‘Patriotism isn’t a dirty word’ – Brexiteer stands for Green Party leadership

‘Patriotism isn’t a dirty word’ –  Brexiteer stands for Green Party leadership

A Brexit supporter and long-standing Green Party member is standing to be the leader of the Green Party, saying “patriotism isn’t a dirty word”.

Leslie Rowe, who was Treasurer for the eurosceptic campaign Green Leaves during the referendum, said Brexit gives the UK ‘huge opportunities’ and criticised the previous Green leadership for failing to articulate why they support the EU.

He said: “The Green Party has been accused of being a single issue party on the environment, but it’s in danger of becoming a single issue party over the EU.

“The current leadership have not explained why they want to stay in a corporatist union, which is partly the reason why I’m standing.”

The retired accountant successfully managed to amend a party vote last year to be more favourable to Brexit.

At the party’s autumn conference, the 66-year old managed to change a motion calling for the party to campaign against the EU Withdrawal Bill to a motion that called for the party to ‘campaign for changes’ to the Bill.

Despite the views of the leadership, Rowe believes there is a sizeable minority of Green party members who are eurosceptic and agree with his assessment. He added:

“There’s nothing wrong with being patriotic and there’s nothing wrong with people being proud of their own culture.

“Economic policy in the EU is controlled by the unelected and secretive Eurogroup.

“It’s no shame to want to preserve your culture and sovereignty. Patriotism isn’t a dirty word.”

Rowe, who has three grown up children, previously ran as an MEP and as an MP in Richmond (Yorks) in 2005, 2010 and 2015.

After putting his name forward, Rowe was given no official confirmation that he was an approved leadership candidate and found out via the Guardian newspaper.

He said: “I’ve got as good a chance as anyone if I’m given a level playing field.”