"We'll go into it as if we're there for the five years" - Newly elected Green MEP Gina Dowding talks environmentalism, the EU Parliament and Brexit
- Gina Dowding is the first Green MEP for the North West, elected last week
- Green 'surge' saw 40% increase in Green MEPs elected across Europe
- She spoke to NQ about what she plans for her time in office
During last week's European Parliament elections, the North West elected its first MEP from the Green Party.
Gina Dowding, who worked previously as a councillor for Lancaster, spoke to NQ fresh from her first visit to the European Parliament in Brussels.
She said she was 'absolutely honoured' to have been elected as MEP and said the result gave her, "Hope for the future, with this positive vote people are turning away from politics of division."
The Green Party gained four MEPs to serve alongside the three elected to the previous EU Parliament, meaning that most EU constituencies in England now have a Green MEP.
This vote was also reflected across the EU with Green parties showing a 40% increase in support.
Gina said this was because people are: "Far more aware and concerned about the environment now and they realise that action is urgent and essential.
"We had a very clear manifesto and people were pleased with how hard we work."
Gina believes people no longer see the Greens as a single-issue party and the 'Green New Deal' movement, which her party supports, is set up to invest in things to solve unemployment and poverty in a way that is also good for the environment.
The elephant in the room is Brexit, of course and Gina and her colleagues could be out of parliament sooner than they hope.
"We'll go into it as if we're there for the five years.
"We want to be tough on Brexit but also tough on the causes of Brexit, and get to the address the underlying reasons why people are so dissatisfied, and feel so disempowered.
"People will see the benefits to staying in the EU."