Newly elected leader to make first speech at Green Party conference
THE Green Party is holding its annual national conference in Bristol from today until Monday.
The party's newly elected leader Natalie Bennett is due to make her first speech to members after taking over from Caroline Lucas, the Greens' first MP.
And Daniella Radice, the party's prospective candidate for Bristol mayor, will take questions about her recently launched manifesto.
The conference is being held at the Council House and members of the public are invited to attend with free entry to panel debates.
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They can also purchase a £5 "taster pass" which will give them access to the full conference fringe and debates programme.
Bristol organisations taking part in panel group discussions at the conference will include transport charity Sustrans and those supporting the Bristol Pound.
The conference will also address a number of national policy topics including panel debates on subjects such as "choosing to die: the law, your rights and the campaign for dignity at the end of life" with panellists from Compassion & Choices, Demos and Dignity in Dying; and "What if growth doesn't happen?" with key note speakers from the New Economics Foundation, Triodos, and the Schumacher Institute.
Fringe events include policy sessions on: The future of the NHS; Trident and nuclear abolition; and Population growth challenges.
Green city councillor Gus Hoyt, who represents Ashley ward, said the party held two conferences a year but that this was the year's main event.
He said there was no significance in why Bristol was chosen as the location, as the party always tries to hold its conferences outside London, with Liverpool and Birmingham being the most recent past locations.
He said the Council House was chosen as the venue because of the amount of smaller rooms that would be needed for workshops and discussions. One of the highlights for Mr Hoyt will be discussions on the party's energy policy.
"Every party member has had the chance to have some input into this policy," he said.
"I am looking forward to discussing and voting on it – some of our other policies, such as our recent fisheries policy was very highly regarded."
Ms Bennett's first speech is also highly anticipated by party members.
"Sometimes it's frustrating when people simply associate the Green Party with the environment," said Mr Hoyt.
"I think our new leader wants to emphasise that environment issues are inextricably linked to economic ones and therefore the issues we are pushing are very relevant to everyone."
For more information visit www.greenparty.org.uk/conference.