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4 March 2015

Natalie Bennett: I’m a rum and raisin candidate and my favourite biscuit is a macaroon

Participating in a live webchat on the popular forum, Mumsnet, the leader of the Green party conceded that her favourite biscuits are macaroons, as she can't eat gluten. 

By Ashley Cowburn

As the Westminster beasts heckled each other during yet another rowdy and unproductive Prime Minister’s Questions, the leader of the Green Party sat down at her computer – cup of tea in hand – and faced questions from Mumsnet interrogators. The result was a shocking display of human qualities.  

Some key points from the live webchat:

  1. Bennett thanked participants who expressed their commiserations on her interview performance with LBC last week. “We all have terrible days at work,” said SoccerFunDays. “But they usually don’t get broadcast to the nation.” Although not all were as sympathetic. “Have you got to grips with numbers yet?” barked another.
  2. “What’s your fave biscuit” asked VoyageofDad. Bennett responded: “Macaroons! (My range is limited because I can’t eat gluten, so an easy choice.)”
  3. When asked how the Greens’ flagship policy of a citizens’ income would be funded, Bennett compared her troubles with implementing the pledge in the next parliament with Ian Duncan Smith’s experience with the Universal Credit rollout. The Green party will be releasing a “detailed consultative costings of [citizens’ income] that around the end of the month”, Bennett added.
  4. It was cleared up that the Greens are not opposed to driving, as was recently reported on Top Gear. “I belong to a car club and use it when necessary – of course [driving] is essential… but if we can cut the number of car journeys, encourage walking and cycling, and provide affordable, reliable, convenient public transport, that will free up roads for essential journeys, tackle the pressing issue of air pollution, and make our villages, towns and cities far more pleasant.”​
  5. Bennett said her party would not in any way prop up a Tory government. “If there were a possibility of a minority Labour or Labour-led coalition government, we’d consider supporting that on a vote-by-vote basis.”
  6. One participant expressed concern over the Greens’ position on transgender issues after the party’s equalities spokesperson, Benali Hamdache tweeted:  “Have noticed more and more TERFs [trans-exclusionary radical feminist] saying they won’t vote Green. Not a bad thing.” Bennett said she was disappointed this happened, finds the term ‘TERF’ offensive and wouldn’t consider using it herself. “… Ensuring that there’s full awareness and understanding of LGBTIQ issues among all candidates and representatives is something we’re working on in the party,” Bennett added.
  7. “Why is the party suggesting that Caroline Lucas share the leaders’ debates with you? Don’t you think this undermines your position as leader?” asked another participant. “We’re not a one-man band!” responded Bennett. “Sometimes you might see me on the TV, sometimes Jenny Jones as one our members of the House of Lords, sometimes Caroline, and sometimes one of our brilliant Young Green candidates.”  For more on the Gronola Pact between Lucas and Bennett, read Anoosh Chakelian’s insight here.
  8. Last week Nigel Farage described himself as a “marmite” candidate in the upcoming general election. Farage went on to declare that David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband were “vanilla”.  “What flavour would you be?” asked one of the Mumsnet interrogators. “Rum and raisin!” responded Bennett.
  9. There’s no “I” in “Team”. The Green party leadership is a team, added Bennett. “That’s something we’ve always made clear, and one of the things that is different about the Green party.”
  10. Bennett admitted that she didn’t know whether “hegemonist” is a word. It is.
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