Caroline Lucas said that the Green Party needs to listen and be “a bit more humble” following its local election defeat in the city.

While the party gained councillors across the country, the Greens in Brighton and Hove lost more than a dozen seats in May.

In an exclusive interview with The Argus, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion said the result, which saw Labour take majority control of the city council, was “disappointing” and said lessons needed to be learnt from the defeat.

She said: “One of those is to do more listening and probably be a bit more humble and hear what residents are saying and respond to that.

“We should have listened more and understood more where constituents were coming from when they had legitimate concerns.”

Ms Lucas also said that the Greens should have been more vocal about the party’s achievements while in control of the council.

“I think we could have been clearer about some of our successes,” she said.

“Building 500 council homes is an extraordinary achievement and I still find people who don’t know that was part of the Green council’s legacy.”

The Argus: Phelim Mac Cafferty was among the Green councillors to lose their seat at the local election in MayPhelim Mac Cafferty was among the Green councillors to lose their seat at the local election in May (Image: The Argus)

However, Ms Lucas also accused Labour of “cynicism” in its election campaign and of “misleading” voters.

She said: “I think one of the things that makes me most angry is the blame the Greens are getting for budget deficits. 

“In actual fact, the Greens stood up and stepped up basically when Labour could no longer run the council because they have lost too many of their councillors owing to issues around anti-Semitism. It was an extraordinarily challenging time for the Greens to step up and to take over the council, and the crucial thing was that the projected overspend Labour is now blaming on the Greens is less than a third of what the Greens inherited from Labour.

“I think that there’s a great deal of cynicism going on here, where something as serious as the massive underfunding of local authorities by the Conservative government is being used as a stick to beat the Greens with. 

“That makes me very angry as it is not fair to the people of Brighton.”

The Argus: Caroline Lucas will step down as an MP at the next general electionCaroline Lucas will step down as an MP at the next general election (Image: The Argus/Andrew Gardner)

Ms Lucas, who announced last month that she will stand down at the next general election, denied suggestions that her decision was prompted by the Green Party’s result at the local election.

She said: “Let me put that to bed - it absolutely didn’t. I had been thinking about this for over a year.

“The reason for my decision not to stand again was to do with just how much on a personal level I want to be able to focus on the nature and climate emergencies.

“Any MP who is doing their job properly will tell you the constituency side of the work is huge, and in my case, I was also having to be the frontbench spokesperson on everything from Brexit to benefits and everything in between.

“It was a very much personal decision; having done 13 years in Westminster and over ten years in the European Parliament, I wanted to stand back and think about how I can do more on the things that really worry me, which is the climate emergency.”

The Argus: Caroline Lucas did not rule out entering the House of LordsCaroline Lucas did not rule out entering the House of Lords (Image: House of Lords/Roger Harris)

Ms Lucas did not rule out the prospect of continuing her climate campaigning from the red benches of the House of Lords, where the Green Party has two members - Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb and former party leader Natalie Bennett.

She said: “I’ve not been offered a peerage and the Green Party position is not in favour of an appointed House of Lords.

“If that were to happen, I would join my colleagues campaigning inside for a very different elected second chamber.

“The Green Party has its own processes for selection to the House of Lords. I wouldn’t rule it out, but no one has mentioned it to be and there are various processes that I would have to go through.”