In local elections across the United Kingdom, the Green Party is celebrating progress after gaining new councillors and defending existing seats in England and Scotland.
• In England, Greens won 26 constituency seats and two by proportional representation. They defended all six seats in Norwich, retaining their position there as the official opposition (with 15 seats to Labour's 21), and also gained seats on three new councils (Dudley, Nuneaton and Worcester). Overall the Green Party of England and Wales successfully defended 18 existing constituency seats and gained eight targeted new ones.
In London, Jenny Jones finished third for mayor in the city's single-transferable vote election. (See video of her election night speech here.) Both Jones and Darren Johnson were also re-elected to the London Assembly, winning seats by proportional representation, as the Greens finished third for the Assembly citywide, passing the Liberal Democrats citywide to become London's third party.
Across England, new Greens seats came at the expense of the Conservatives (5), Labour (2) and the Liberal Democrats (1). The Greens lost seats it previously held to Labour (3) and the Conservatives (1), for a net gain of four.
• In Scotland, Greens won 14 seats, gaining six. Highlights include a doubling to 6 of Edinburgh Green councillors - twice as many as the Liberal Democrats, and retaining all 5 Green seats in Glasgow, more than the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats combined.
Across the U.K. there were elections in 128 English councils, all 32 Scottish councils and 21 Welsh councils. Greens contested 943 seats in 119 councils and won an average of 9% of the vote in 454 wards, with their vote up by one point in those wards they also contested in 2011.
Caroline Lucas, Member of Parliament and Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales “This positive set of results for the Greens is a clear sign that our party is growing in confidence and steadily building support. Patrick Harvie, Member of Scottish Parliament and Co-convener, Scottish Green Party agreed: "These results are incredibly positive and demonstrate that Greens have a significant role to play in local government." Added Kirklees City Councillor Andrew Cooper, Chair of the Association of Green Councillors: "This is a party coming of age, which is showing that when it gets stuck into local issues like housing, it can actually make gains and then hold on to them despite the swings of the big three parties."
The Scottish Green election manifesto 'New Directions for local councils' stated "Green candidates share a vision of a fairer, greener Scotland. We work for communities where services are local and where local people have a say in what their area looks like. It is about public services being kept in public hands. A cleaner, healthier environment, policies that are based on equality, both here and internationally, looking forward not back – these are the features of the Green approach to local government."
The manifesto of the Green party of England and Wales was entitled 'Make the Difference: The Green vision for a more equal, healthy and affordable Britain' and shared a similar approach to greater local say in local government, along with a strong emphasis on green, affordable housing, cutting fuel bills, expanding the living wage and protecting public services from government cuts.For more: Green Party of England and Wales; Scottish Green Party