Maiden Speech for Caroline Lucas and the Greens

By Andrew Ivey | Speeches

May 28
Caroline Lucas

Caroline Lucas's Maiden Speech

One result of the numbers of MPs choosing not to contest their seats in the wake of the expenses scandal is that we can look forward to a fair number of maiden speeches in the House of Commons.

Maiden speeches are typically formulaic in their construction. By tradition they are short. They thank their local electorate for the privilege of being elected. They sing the virtues of the constituency–its people, its geography and its industry for example. And they praise the previous incumbent.

It’s not often, however, that a maiden speech is also a maiden speech for a political party. That was the case yesterday with Caroline Lucas’s speech in Parliament. Elected MP for the Brighton Pavilion constituency, the Green Party leader began her party’s parliamentary career yesterday.

In her introduction Ms Lucas noted how the last maiden speech from a new national political party was several decades ago with the first Nationalist MPs in Scotland and Wales…the 1940s and 1970s respectively. She overlooked the SDP MPs of the 1980s of course.

Her speech followed convention. It thanked her constituency. It praised her predecessor, Labour MP David Lepper, who stood down at the election. It praised Brighton in general and Brighton Pavilion in particular. And it also outlined her stance on the issues that needed focus.

This was not a speech bristling with rhetoric. With repetition, the speech noted “the long journey” that the Green party has taken since its inception as the Ecology party in 1973. And repetition was well used with the phrase, “a single MP,”–repeated six times.

But rhetorical devices aside, this was a well-worded maiden speech for the Greens and Caroline Lucas.

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About the Author

The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK. Andrew Ivey on Google+

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