Greens gain 194 council seats in England

Sian Berry

Image credit: Rosie Rawle

This week saw the Green Party of England and Wales experience its best set of local election results in its history. The party gained 194 councillors across England. In the process, it broke onto over 50 new councils for the first time and doubled its total number of councillors.

Some of the results were particularly impressive. These included:

  • Gaining eight seats in Brighton & Hove, leaving the Greens with one less councillor than Labour.
  • Winning seats in South Oxfordshire for the first time ever, picking up five seats on the council.
  • Gaining seven seats in Mendip.
  • Doubling the number of Green councillors in Mid Suffolk.
  • Gaining three new councillors in Solihull, taking the Green tally to fourteen.

Speaking on the results, Green Party of England and Wales co-leader Sian Berry said:

Voters are clearly fed up with the tired old politics of the parties of the past, who have delivered a UK in Brexit turmoil.

Green politics is fresh and new, principled and consistent. We have always celebrated the value of the freedom of movement, which offers people opportunities to live, work, study and love on the Continent, and benefit from the contributions of other Europeans in our country.

We have always insisted that we have to live within the physical limits of this one fragile planet, and that in doing so we can tackle the inequality, poverty and desperation that the failed policies of the past have created.

On social media we are hearing from so many first-time Green voters who are now feeling unshackled from tradition ties, free to hope for a positive democratic future for the UK within the EU.

Green Party of England and Wales sees membership surge

Amelia Womack

Image credit: Creative Commons: Krystyna Haywood

Good news for the Greens didn’t stop with the election results though. The day after the election, the Green Party of England and Wales attracted 500 new members to their ranks. People were rushing to join the Greens so quickly that the party was getting a new member every three minutes.

Speaking to Bright Green about the membership growth, the party’s deputy leader Amelia Womack said:

The number of people joining us over the last few days shows that people are hungry for change.

It also shows that people who have voted Green want to make a real commitment to the change they want to see by joining us.

These figures show a solid rejection of the establishment politics and a vote for hope.

The Green Party offers people honesty, integrity and sheer hard work. When you elect us we get things done. Our new councillors are determined to get to work delivering the change people are crying out for and we expect our membership to grow and grow. Our movement feels unstoppable.

Greens make gains in Northern Ireland local elections

Malachai O'Hara

Image Credit: YouTube Screengrab

It wasn’t just in England that the Greens had a historic election night. The Green Party in Northern Ireland also saw positive results.

The party doubled its number of councillors, gaining four seats once all the votes had been counted. This saw the Greens become the sixth largest party in local government in the north of Ireland. The election saw larger parties lose support at the hands of the Greens, the Alliance Party and People Before Profit.

Among the Greens’ new councillors is the Green Party in Northern Ireland deputy leader, Mal O’Hara.

Speaking on the results of the elections in Belfast – where the Greens gained seats – party leader Clare Bailey said:

Mal O’Hara’s election is a phenomenal breakthrough for the party to get a seat in north Belfast. It was a very tight race, and Aine Groogan topping the poll in Botanic as a first-time candidate coming in ahead of the mayor and deputy mayor of the city,

People have really come out and supported us, they have shown us by their vote that they really want to make the change and our conversations at the door have really resonated, climate change and climate chaos right at the front of the arguments.

So regardless of our traditional cultural identities, the them and us politics, what we really need to be looking at is how we all mitigate against climate change, and that message is just being understood on the doors and over the last few days we are seeing that result coming in.

It’s phenomenal.

Caroline Russell forces Transport for London to pull ads from human rights abusers

Caroline Russell

Image credit: Creative Commons: Joe Dunckley

With all the buzz around the elections, you’d be forgiven for thinking that nothing else had happened this week. In fact, elected Greens continued their work across the country.

One of these – London Assembly member Caroline Russell – successfully pushed Transport for London (TFL) to drop adverts from countries with poor records on human rights.

After Russell wrote to London Mayor Sadiq Khan, TFL agreed to drop adverts from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, Somali, Sudan and Mauritania.

Speaking on the ban, Russell said:

Regimes that use the death penalty and breach human rights shouldn’t be allowed to advertise on TfL. It’s a matter of principle.

Ross Greer 50,000 objections to Flamingo Land

Ross Greer

Image credit: YouTube screengrab

The Scottish Green Party’s long running war with Flamingo Land entered a new phase this week. Green MSP Ross Greer has successfully coordinated more than 50,000 objections against the building of a Flamingo Land holiday park at Loch Lomond. Greer has suggested that the proposed Flamingo Land development would be a disaster for Loch Lomond’s natural beauty, environment and wildlife. At the time of writing, the Scottish Greens’ campaign has garnered 52,131 objections to the proposals.

Speaking on the news that the number of objections had reached 50,000, Greer said:

A phenomenal 50,000 people have now backed my campaign, lodging their objection to Flamingo Land’s planning application for Loch Lomond.

This is a message the National Park board cannot ignore.

The success of tourism at Loch Lomond comes from the world-famous natural beauty and wildlife of our national park. For the sake of a private developer’s profit margins, that world-famous environment, the wildlife it contains and the many jobs and businesses currently dependent on it are now at risk. Our campaign to stop the sell-off of this public land will only continue to grow.

Caroline Lucas joins commission for a Green New Deal

Caroline Lucas

Image credit: Creative Commons: GPEW

The Green New Deal is all the rage right now. A Green New Deal consists of proposals to radically reshape the UK’s economy in order to effectively respond to climate change. Green MP Caroline Lucas has long been a prominent advocate for such a policy.

Now, she has joined a new commission calling for a Green New Deal. The Environmental Justice Commission has been set up by the left of centre think tank the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR). According to the IPPR, the commission has been established “to help develop the ideas and policies to bring about a rapid green transition that is fair and just.”

In a joint article with Ed Miliband and Laura Sandys for the Guardian, Lucas wrote:

It is time for the UK to lead again and the commission will aim to help shape that leadership. And when people ask how we can bring the country together, we believe this issue has the potential to do so. For some, it will be the climate issue that motivates them, for others the economic and social justice gains that can be achieved in the war against climate change. For many it will be all of these. We owe it to our country and its future to make this happen.

Chris Jarvis

About Chris Jarvis

Chris is a writer and campaigner. He has been active in the student movement for almost a decade - working for two years as an elected Sabbatical Officer at the Union of UEA Students, and for two and a half years at student activist network People & Planet. A Green Party member since 2010, Chris has served on the Executive Committee of both the Young Greens and the Green Party of England and Wales. In 2014, Chris co-founded the progressive online publication The Norwich Radical, and in 2018 joined the writing team of The Canary. Chris is currently a Press and Communications Officer at We Own It.