Caroline Lucas speaking as the first Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales at its autumn conference in 2008.
The 2008 Green Party leadership election took place in September 2008, and saw Caroline Lucas, one of the two Principal Speakers of the party, elected as the first Green Party Leader.
The election followed the party's decision to replace its current system of two Principal Speakers with a single leader. The change was supported by Caroline Lucas, but opposed by the other Principal Speaker, Derek Wall. It gained the support of 73% of party members who cast a vote in an internal referendum.
Caroline Lucas launched a campaign for the Leadership on 14 July. The other candidate for the leadership was Ashley Gunstock, an actor best known for his role in The Bill.
Only one candidate stood for the Deputy Leadership, Adrian Ramsay, leader of the Green group on Norwich City Council. He was a supporter of Lucas and under party gender balance rules, could only be elected to the post if a woman was elected to the leadership.
Nominations for both the Leadership and Deputy Leadership closed on 31 July 2008, following which, ballot papers were distributed. In order to assist candidates with canvassing, the party's Standing Orders Committee decided to release the contact details of 7,000 members to the candidates. More than 100 party members signed a protest letter which questioned whether this publication was legal under the Data Protection Act. The issue became moot when all three candidates declined to request contact details.