Caroline Lucas’s successor as Green Party candidate in Brighton Pavilion has said she is ready to start the campaign to hold the seat at the next election. 

London Assembly member and Camden councillor Sian Berry was overwhelmingly selected in a vote of local party members, receiving 71 per cent support to contest the constituency.

Ms Lucas, who has represented Brighton Pavilion for the Green Party since 2010, announced she will stand down at the next election, expected to take place sometime next year.

Sian Berry, who is also the former co-leader of the Green Party, said she was “really honoured” to be chosen as the parliamentary candidate for the party’s only seat in Westminster.

She said: “Brighton made history electing Caroline and it’s really important we continue the work and service she’d done.

“I’m ready to start the campaign right now. I couldn’t be more enthusiastic to start knocking on doors and listening to residents and coming to live in this wonderful city.

“It is an enormous responsibility to continue the work of Caroline Lucas. Brighton Pavilion needs a Green MP in Parliament representing all the people across this wonderful constituency, and I can promise every voter in Brighton Pavilion that I will work every moment between now and the general election to win their trust and support.”

The Argus: Green MP Caroline Lucas with new Brighton Pavilion candidate Sian BerryGreen MP Caroline Lucas with new Brighton Pavilion candidate Sian Berry (Image: The Argus/Andrew Gardner)

Outgoing MP Caroline Lucas had backed Ms Berry for the position, describing her as being “passionate, principled and a good listener”.

Following the announcement last night, Ms Lucas said: “I am delighted that Sian has been elected by party members. I can’t think of anyone better placed than Sian to be the next Green MP for Brighton Pavilion. 

“I have known Sian for many years. She is fantastically hard-working, passionate and principled, a wonderful listener and she’s got real vision.

“I am certain that Sian will be a powerful Green voice in Parliament, holding to account whichever party forms the next government and championing the concerns of residents.”

Reflecting on her time as MP for the city, she said: “It has been the honour of my life to represent the people of Brighton Pavilion in Parliament for the past 13 years and to see my majority increase at each of the past four elections.

“I feel like it really is home and I love it and it has been such a privilege to represent it.”

Who is Sian Berry?

The Argus: Sian Berry and Caroline Lucas outside the Royal PavilionSian Berry and Caroline Lucas outside the Royal Pavilion (Image: The Argus/Andrew Gardner)

Serving as co-leader between 2018 and 2021, Sian Berry currently serves as a councillor in Camden and is the leader of the Green group on the London Assembly.

Ms Berry ran to be London Mayor three times, most recently in 2021 where she came third with 7.8 per cent of the vote.

Her first attempt to enter Parliament was in 2005, when she contested the Hampstead and Highgate constituency. She placed fourth, behind Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, with 5.3 per cent of the vote.

Before joining the London Assembly, Sian was the founder of the campaign group Alliance Against Urban 4x4s and worked as a roads and sustainability transport campaigner for the charity Campaign for Better Transport for five years.

During her time as co-leader, Ms Berry took part in two of the national television debates for the 2019 general election, facing off against then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak, former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, former SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.

Brighton Pavilion is expected to be a hotly contested seat at the next general election, with Labour expected to fight hard to elect the party’s first MP in the constituency for more than a decade.

The party has yet to begin its internal selection process to choose a candidate.

Ms Berry said she believes that the Green Party can see off any challenge from Labour to take their only seat in Parliament.

She said: “I think Labour are doing half of our work for us at the moment. Labour is going back on so many of their pledges - Keir Starmer is making a U-turn a day. 

“Whether it’s the child benefit cap or rent controls, these are the issues. People really believed in Labour and what they would do for them. And if they’re not going to do that, Green votes are going to be very easy to find.

“It is really important that whoever leads the next government, Tory or Labour, that there is a Green voice in Parliament and hopefully a team of Green MPs holding their feet to the fire.”

The Argus: Caroline Lucas and Sian Berry in Gardner StreetCaroline Lucas and Sian Berry in Gardner Street (Image: The Argus/Andrew Gardner)

The new Green candidate has been spending the last few weeks touring the constituency and speaking to party members and residents to get to know what issues matter to them.

When asked what she loves most about Brighton, Ms Berry said: “It’s such a beautiful place. The people are really friendly and welcoming, and you’ve also got really great community services, run by the community.”

In a message to voters in the constituency, Ms Berry urged residents to come and talk to her in the coming weeks and months.

“My message is that I’m listening,” she said.

“I’m going to be knocking on doors and listening to what you want from your next MP. I want to hear about the policies you want to be championed and the values you want to see represented.”