The Green MP for Brighton Pavilion in the U.K’s East Sussex and her party’s only MP, Caroline Lucas, has written an open letter to a cross-party group republished in today’s The Guardian, calling for a cabinet of women to stop a no-deal Brexit, which she says would be ‘disastrous’.
“We need an “emergency cabinet” to work for reconciliation. I believe this should be a cabinet of women.”
She wants female MPs to form a temporary cabinet to deliver a new referendum.
In her letter, she spells out what is not working, and how a female-led cabinet can change things. She says she has reached out to ten female colleagues including Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Labour, the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru and the Independent Group for Change to seek their participation to stop “crash-out Brexit.” The women include leader of the Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon and Labor MP Emily Thornberry.
“The government is hellbent on creating more divisions, scapegoating our friends and neighbours, and ignoring the inequality and democratic deficit that fuelled the Brexit vote,” she said in her letter.
She has a plan which she believes will work better. What would this plan look like, precisely?
Step One: dethrone current PM Boris Johnson through a no-confidence vote.
Step Two: establish a national unity government.
Step Three: set up a confirmatory vote, which would give people “the choice of the status quo or pressing ahead with the latest government plan – whether that is a revised withdrawal agreement or a proposal to leave with no deal.”
Such actions will guarantee a fair, transparent and informed vote, an outcome that’s part of the fundamental essence of what a politician ought strive for, Lucas writes.
“Why women?” she asks. “Because women have shown they can bring a different perspective to crises, are able to reach out to those they disagree with and cooperate to find solutions.”
She emphasises two points in recent history where women played a critical role in shifting the distribution of power.
Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for their work as the founders of the Northern Ireland Peace Movement, later renamed Community of Peace People, which helped end sectarianism and violence in Northern Ireland: an insurgency that became known with weary understatement as the Troubles, where more than 3,600 people were killed.
Lucas also mentions Christiana Figueres, a Costa Rican diplomat who in 2015, as part of her role as the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, agitated for the Paris Agreement, when governments across the world united in a promise to safeguard climate by striving to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
According to Lucas, who has been a British Green Party member since 2010, such examples were “difficult, intractable problems [that] have found the beginning of resolution thanks to the leadership of women.”
She also mentions in her letter her work with Greta Thunberg earlier this year on the subject of ending the climate emergency.
Independent MP for South Cambridgeshire Heidi Allen said, “Caroline is right to draw the conclusion that often it’s us women who are prepared to get people round a table and work differently. We are facing the precipice of no deal so we have to shed old ways of working, and fast. Women are by nature less tribal, so I’m very willing to play my part and try.” Allen has signed up to the plan.
Labor MP and former Shadow Secretary Emily Thornberry took to Twitter to publicise her thoughts on Lucas’ proposal, saying “I worry her new proposed plan would not solve our country’s divisions,” but reveals she has every intention to “gladly stand on stage with you…to do what is right for our country.”
I thank @CarolineLucas for her fight against Brexit, and I will always stand with her on a platform to Remain, but I worry her new proposed plan would not solve our country's divisions. The people must have the final say, not politicians from either side. Here's my full reply. pic.twitter.com/VByHbf9d7Y
— Emily Thornberry (@EmilyThornberry) August 11, 2019
Does this sound like a small group of decision makers replacing another small group of decision makers, the only difference being, one group are men, the other, women?
Lucas assures us, it is not.
“A small group of us should not be deciding on Britain’s future and that is not what lies behind my initiative. But we need to find a way forward that allows the British people to decide which course they want to take.”
Change UK MP Anna Soubry added that this should not be a gender divisive action: “While I agree that women can do things in a different way, if you’re trying to stop no-deal Brexit then the key thing is to bring people together, not to divide them on the basis of their gender.”
If this plan succeeds, Lucas would be the PM, according to The Guardian’s political commentary, Peter Walker, and her deputy would be Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson.
The open letter will foster talks in the coming days. Women’s Agenda will be covering it closely. Let’s see whether Lucas’ bold move will inspire a change for the better of all citizens in the U.K.