Humanist pledges in Green Manifesto

12 June, 2024

Humanists UK has welcomed several pledges made by the Green Party of England Wales in their Manifesto for the 2024 general election. It has, however, noted the omission of several pledges where the Green Party already has policy in line with Humanists UK’s.

Humanists UK is lobbying all the parties and candidates to support its campaigns and equality for humanists and the non-religious by adopting policies to advance freedom of thought, choice, and expression. In this story, as with earlier pieces on the Liberal Democrat and Conservative manifestos, Humanists UK is analysing what’s in the Manifesto for humanists. It will be doing the same for the Labour Party Manifesto once that is published.

Policies in focus

Human rights

The Green Party Manifesto says ‘The Green Party is committed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the European Court of Human Rights.’

Humanists UK strongly welcomes this pledge. Humanists UK previously spearheaded the largest-ever human rights coalition dedicated to protecting the Human Rights Act. Yesterday, it reacted with dismay to a Conservative pledge that it might pull the UK out of the European Convention.

Relationships and Sex Education (RSE)

On education, the Greens promise to ‘Retain a full, evidence-based and age-appropriate programme of Relationships, Sex and Health Education, including LGBTIQA+ content and resources.’

If taken to mean a commitment to comprehensive, age-appropriate RSE without religious exemptions in faith schools, this is an approach Humanists UK can wholly endorse.

Assisted dying

The Manifesto says ‘Elected Greens will back changing the law on assisted dying. We support a humane and dignified approach to terminal illness, allowing people to choose to end their lives to avoid prolonging unnecessary suffering, if this is their clear and settled will. Proper safeguards would need to be put in place.’

Humanists UK is pleased to see the explicit support for assisted dying. However, it would wish for Parliament to properly consider the merits of a Bill covering the incurably suffering as well as the terminally ill. It is vital that incurably suffering people, who are of sound mind and have a clear and settled wish to die, are given the right to die if this is their firm choice. They are among those most in need of a change in the law, having the most suffering ahead of them. If a free vote is to be allowed for the terminally ill, then why not the incurably suffering as well?

Time for assisted dying was also promised by the Lib Dem Manifesto and by Keir Starmer as Labour leader in an interview with Esther Rantzen. Conservative leader Rishi Sunak originally said he would allow time for a free vote, but this promise was watered down in the Conservative Manifesto.

Bishops in the House of Lords

The Green Manifesto commits ‘elected Greens’ to ‘push for replacing the House of Lords with an elected second chamber.’

This should mean removing the presence of 26 appointed Church of England bishops from the upper house, who operate as a party, vote on laws, and enjoy special speaking privileges over other members. This would fulfil a longstanding Humanists UK policy.

Constitutional Convention

On constitutional reform, the Greens pledge support for ‘a Constitutional Commission to start a vital national conversation about a new constitutional settlement’.

Humanists UK has long supported a Constitutional Convention as a democratic means to look again at the UK’s archaic parliamentary structures and outdated religious bias in our politics, including things such as bishops voting in the House of Lords and the fused role of the head of state being Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Humanists UK was pleased to see the Greens commit to ‘Develop and implement a new UK-wide strategy to tackle gender-based violence, including domestic violence, rape and sexual abuse, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and trafficking.’

Humanists UK helped to co-found the group ACTION: FGM, which calls to eradicate the practice worldwide by 2030.

Absent policies

Some key humanist issues were absent from the Manifesto, but are nonetheless settled Green Party policy. These include faith school admissions (Green Party policy advocates their abolition), RE, collective worship, banning conversion therapy, and ending practices like non-stun ritual slaughter of livestock.

Humanists UK would have also liked to see pledges on protecting women’s reproductive rights or Safe Access Zones around abortion clinics. In recent years reproductive rights have been undermined by religious-led parliamentary activity and protests, some of which is funded by American ‘dark money’.

Humanists UK urges the Greens to continue to pursue policies that advocate for equality and freedom of choice, even where these conflict with religious lobbies’ demands for special treatment.

Other parties’ manifestos

Humanists UK is analysing the major parties’ manifestos as soon as they are released. It previously published its analysis of the Liberal Democrats’ Manifesto on Monday and the Conservatives on Tuesday, and intends to do the same for Labour.

Humanists UK is urging all its supporters and the general public to write to all their candidates on a range of humanist issues. It has also sent its members and supporters a ‘doorstep guide’ for questions to ask to canvassers.


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at or phone 0203 675 0959.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 120,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.