Co-founder of the People party, later to evolve into the Green party

When the Coventry solicitor Tony Whittaker was handed a copy of Playboy magazine by his wife, Lesley, in a Warwickshire pub in the summer of 1972, he could not have envisaged that it would lead to the couple co-founding one the world’s first Green parties. The magazine had an interview with the US biologist Paul R Ehrlich, who predicted famine and environmental collapse if governments ignored nature, and population continued to grow unchecked.

For the Whittakers and their drinking friends in the Bridge Inn at Napton, the local businessman Michael Benfield and his colleague and later wife, Freda Sanders, the conversation was the catalyst to form a new kind of party to challenge the UK political establishment and reflect mounting awareness of global environmental limits. The “Gang of Four”, as they became known, called a public meeting in the Whittakers’ legal offices and the 43 people who turned up in February 1973 founded People, which was renamed the Ecology party at its second national conference in 1975, and then the Green party in 1984.

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Source: Guardian Environment