Caroline Lucas apologises for omitting BAME women from proposal | Politics


Caroline Lucas, the Green party’s only MP, has apologised after her proposal for an all-female cabinet of national unity to block a no-deal Brexit was criticised for including only white politicians.

The Green MP had suggested a cabinet of national unity involving SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, Yvette Cooper, the former shadow home secretary, and Jo Swinson, the leader of the Lib Dems.

However, she was criticised for missing out senior black politicians, such as Diane Abbott, amid wider scepticism about the viability of the proposal.

Lucas said she had wanted to start a debate about how to stop a no-deal Brexit, but subsequently released a statement of regret saying she should have included BAME women as well.

“An all-white list of women isn’t right. I should have reached out further and thought more deeply about who, and what kind of politics, an all-white list represents. I apologise,” she said.

“There are women of colour colleagues who are standing up to this government’s reckless gamble with Britain’s future, and it was wrong to overlook them. I apologise to them and all who’ve been hurt by their exclusion.”

She added that she had chosen the 10 names on the list with the intention of being representative of all parts of the UK and realised that she had not got this right.

In a statement on Facebook, she said: “I wanted the leadership or deputy leadership of all relevant parties in Westminster.

“I wanted two representatives from the main opposition party to represent the diverse views within it. Emily Thornberry is the shadow foreign secretary, who most often deputises for Jeremy Corbyn. Cooper has led cross-party parliamentary attempts to stop a no-deal Brexit from the backbenches.”


Lucas got a mixed response to her proposal, with Thornberry thanking her for the invitation to join talks on the idea but saying she worried that the new proposed plan “would not solve our country’s divisions”.

“The people must have the final say, not politicians from either side,” she said, arguing that imposing an alternative coalition government without reference to the public could risk worsening public anger and resentment towards Westminster.

Labour MP Clive Lewis said Lucas’s idea was interesting but was also one of the first to point out that her list neglected to involve any BAME female politicians. “I think this a very interesting proposal. One genuine question: where are the BAME women politicians?” he said.

In her proposal, Lucas offered to meet with women from all the main parties in Westminster, as well as Sturgeon, to form a temporary cabinet in the event of a no-confidence vote in Boris Johnson’s government. The idea was that it would exist for the sole purpose of blocking a no-deal Brexit and delivering a fresh referendum, likely with a remain and a no-deal exit option on the ballot.

Apart from Sturgeon, Thornberry and Cooper, Lucas also included the Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, former Conservative cabinet minister Justine Greening, Change UK’s Anna Soubry, independent MP Heidi Allen, SNP’s Kirsty Blackman, independent Northern Irish MP Sylvia Hermon, and Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts.

In her statement, Lucas maintained that “fresh thinking is urgently needed” to prevent the government crashing out without a deal on 31 October.

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