The two joint leaders of the Green party, Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley, are to stand for their job-shared role again, declaring the time is right to seize the moment and become a mass-membership movement.

Berry and Bartley have held the leadership since 2018, but the party holds a contest every two years to allow others to challenge for the top job.

Bartley previously held the role jointly with the party’s only MP, Caroline Lucas, who stepped aside in 2018 saying it was time for the party to widen the pool of its prominent figures. The party will accept nominations until the end of June and then online voting will take place between 3 August and 31 August.

In a joint statement announcing their intention to stand again, Berry and Bartley said it was a pivotal moment for their party.

They said: “The country is in crisis and at a crossroads, and the decisions being taken now will determine what our world looks like for decades to come. We face the fundamental question of whether we will address the climate and ecological emergency, and whether we will deal with the rampant inequality, racism and poverty that scars the lives of millions – or return to business as usual.

“The Green party must seize this moment. We need to be bigger and better and become a mass-membership movement that demonstrates the new kind of leadership this country so desperately needs.”

The party failed to add any seats at the 2019 election, winning just 2.7% of the vote, but Lucas increased her majority in Brighton Pavilion. The overall vote share was down on its 2015 performance of 3.6%, but up on the 2017 result of 1.6%, when the party was squeezed by the surge in support for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour.

Berry and Bartley said: “When we were elected, we did so on a platform of working with the wider party leadership team to take the Greens to the next level. Over this time the party has grown its membership by over 50%.

“Together we have more than doubled our number of councillors, and gone from being the official opposition on five councils to playing a part in running 18 councils. And the clarity and passion of our policies and values meant we had our most successful European elections ever, electing seven MEPs last year.”

They said they would continue to put a green new deal policy and the climate emergency at the heart of the party’s agenda.

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