About Natalie

Natalie BennettFor those of you who haven't met me yet, hello.

I live in Norfolk Park, just behind the Park Hill flats, in a terrace with a small garden dominated by two very aggressive robins. (But I've put in three feeding spots, so the other birds do okay.)

You might have seen me on the television, in my four years as leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, from 2012 to 2016.

That might have been debating with David Cameron in the first leaders' debate of 2015, when I was pleased to be able to challenge him on Britain's failure to welcome more than a handful of Syrian refugees. Or in the second debate, which concluded with that famous hug involving Nicola Sturgeon, Leanne Wood and myself. 

When you speak to me you'll discover from my accent that I grew up south of Sheffield, way south, in Australia, where I began my working life as a journalist, after studying agriculture at the University of Sydney. Having a science degree is rare in politics, but something I think we should see more of.

I've lived on three continents, having spent four years in Bangkok, half of those working as a volunteer for the National Commission on Women's Affairs. I also did United Nations consulting on women's and children's issues.

Green Party Sheffield

But I was always heading back to the UK, having visited first as a backpacker in 1990, and I developed a career in national newspapers, working for the Telegraph, Times, Independent and finally as editor of the Guardian Weekly for five years. I was captivated when I first touched the thousand-year-old wall of St Bartholomew the Great church in London, and delighted to find a rich depth of cultural and community life in Britain, as well as a great radical history, from the Peasant's Revolt to the suffragettes.

I joined the Green Party on the 1st of January, 2006, following a resolution to do something about the state of the world. I'd never have predicted where it would lead me, although I always felt that I would eventually move out of journalism, to try to change the news, rather than report it.

After serving two terms as Green Party leader, I felt it was time to move to more hands-on, rooted politics (my train-miles tally was monumental), as I said in my farewell speech at Green Party Autumn conference.

Last October I was announced as the Green Party candidate for Sheffield Central. I spoke to Sheffield Live about that at the time.

P.S. If you want to know more about my early life, the BBC wrote an extensive profile - which might also add a new word to your vocabulary, "jillaroo".