Election success for Quakers

Two Quaker candidates have been successful at the recent European elections

Left: Judith Kirton-Darling. Right: Molly Scott Cato being interviewed after the results were announced. | Photo: Left: Judith Kirton-Darling. Right: Andrew Bell.

Two Quaker candidates have been successful at the recent European elections.  Stroud Meeting’s Molly Scott Cato has become the first Green Party MEP for the South West, while Judith Kirton-Darling, who is a member of Belgium and Luxembourg Yearly Meeting and attends Hexham Meeting, was elected Labour MEP for the North East.

Molly has been a green economist for the last fifteen years, and involved with the Green Party for twenty-three. Asked how her Quaker background has influenced her career, she said: ‘I take very seriously the Quaker requirement to seek out causes of all conflicts. These tend to be about inequality of wealth, and that is why I became an economist.’

Molly is the leader of the Green Group on Stroud District Council, and recently helped win funding for a hydro scheme at the group’s office and a £100,000 grant for local food projects.

‘Quaker concerns, such as climate change, are also key to my political concerns,’ she said.

As an MEP, Molly’s priorities will be finance and farming. ‘I’m from the South West – it’s vital to our region, and I hope to get farming working in a more socially and environmentally friendly way,’ she told the Friend.

Across in the North East, on the other side of the country, fellow new MEP Judith Kirton-Darling will focus her energies on youth employment and tackling climate change.

A Middlesbrough native, she sees these as her key priorities because the North East remains the only region in the UK where unemployment is still rising, and because tackling climate change ‘offers enormous opportunities for the North East and local jobs’.

Judith told the Friend that being a Quaker is such an intrinsic part of who she is that it is difficult to separate her political and private lives.

When it comes to which elements of Quakerism she will bring to her role as an MEP, she said:

‘Listening! I think the most important means of finding agreements is by listening to others. In politics I think this is often neglected.’

Judith continued, ‘I hope to be a very active MEP in my region. It’s only by listening to people’s concerns and striving for just solutions that I think we can counter apathy and political disaffection.’ 

See the 23 May issue of the Friend for a full-length interview with Judith Kirton-Darling. If you know of other Quakers successful in the recent elections, please let us know.

You need to login to read subscriber-only content and/or comment on articles.