Page last updated at 15:59 GMT, Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Profile: Caroline Lucas

Caroline Lucas is one of the few politicians to trumpet the fact that she has been arrested on her own website.

Caroline Lucas
Ms Lucas hopes to become the Greens' first MP

The Green Party leader began her political journey at the anti-nuclear peace camp at Greenham Common, and 10 years as an MEP have not meant she has abandoned frontline protests.

Ms Lucas, 49, was charged with breaching the peace in 2001 and 2007, while staging a sit-in at the Faslane naval base where nuclear submarines are based.

She was fined - but used her arrests to rail against the "greater crime" of "stockpiling nuclear warheads".

Anti-war

While some - including the government - believe nuclear power is crucial to creating a low-carbon future for Britain, Ms Lucas is not among them.

She was involved in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament before she joined the Greens and remains on the CND council as well as being a vice president of the RSPCA and part of the Stop the War Coalition.

A former Oxfordshire county councillor, she has worked for Oxfam and been a government policy adviser, has a diploma in journalism, a degree in English Literature and a PhD in English and Women's Studies.

Caroline Lucas campaigns for the Greens in 1990
Ms Lucas has been part of the Green Party for more than 20 years

She was already campaigning on women's issues and the environment when she joined the Green Party in 1986 - shortly after reading Jonathan Porritt's book Seeing Green.

Ms Lucas, who is married with two teenage sons, has worked for the Green Party for more than 20 years, beginning as a press officer in 1987.

At the time, she had to contend with the Greens' image problem. She told the Guardian: "I do remember then that when I was putting people up to go on TV programmes I'd be saying to them 'what are you planning to wear?' and they'd be slightly offended that I'd even think of asking the question."

She worked her way up through the party, becoming one of its first two MEPs in 1999 and becoming a "principal speaker" from 2003.

'Historic breakthrough'

Those were the years the party stuck by the distinctive, but to some confusing, policy of having two main speakers.

When it eventually voted in one leader, in September 2009, it was Ms Lucas who got the top job.

She now has her eyes set on becoming the party's first Green MP.

In the 2005 general election, her colleague Keith Taylor came third in Brighton Pavilion with 22% of the vote - just behind the Conservatives. It has since doubled its number of councillors on Brighton and Hove City Council.

When Ms Lucas went up against Mr Taylor in a ballot of party members to see who should contest the seat in 2010 - she won with 55% of the vote.

She told her party's spring conference in February to be realistic - they were not going to form a government but could make an "historic breakthrough" and get their first MP elected.

As the Green candidate in the seat thought to be the party's most winnable, Ms Lucas will be hoping that MP will be her.



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