This month has seen the best local election results in the history of the Green Party. The scale of the achievement is striking. On 1 May 2019 the Green Party had 178 councillors across 68 different councils – on 3 May 2019 there were 362 councillors across 122 councils.
Where did the doubling in our councillor numbers come from? Existing Green strongholds grew. In Brighton & Hove, the Green Group increased from 11 to 19, coming within a whisker of taking control of the council. In Solihull, 11 Greens became 14 (with one ward achieving an 84 per cent Green vote share, the highest ever for any Green anywhere!). In Mid Suffolk, six Greens became 12. In Lewes, three Greens became nine. In Norwich, five Greens became nine.
New Green strongholds were built. In Folkestone and Hythe, we gained six seats from a starting position of none. Likewise in South Oxfordshire, we took five seats to go from zero representation to being the third largest group on the council.
Across the country, we broke new ground. Green pioneers were elected in over fifty new councils, from Carlisle to Colchester, Tewkesbury to Thanet. Many of these wins were in areas Greens have wrongly been told for years that we can’t win, including Leave-voting northern cities like Sunderland and (formerly) rock solid Tory shires such as East Devon.
Overall, we won over 878,000 votes – 9.2 per cent of all votes cast across England on polling day. This percentage is all the more remarkable as we only contested 30 per cent of the seats up for election (a demonstration of the need to encourage more Green members to stand for election in their communities – think what we could achieve if we contested each and every seat!).
This incredible progress was the result of years of hard work and local parties applying the Green Party’s Target to Win programme. Use of the Target to Win manual, literature templates, training and staff support was a factor in nearly all wins – over 90 per cent of our priority and development campaigns won. These elections results are proof that Greens can win, when a targeted programme is followed and the hard work put in.
This is a lesson that should excite local parties across England and Wales. Nowhere is unwinnable, and there is a rising momentum behind our party – as we gain in experience, confidence and skill. We are now comfortably the fourth largest party in local government in England, and we can expect our numbers to grow further as the dedication of the newly elected Green councillors makes itself felt in the communities they have been elected in.
Time to start work on winning seats in 2020 and 2021. Get in touch with your local Field Organiser for advice and support.
Winning Green councillors
194 Green gains were made last week – some of the winning candidates are below:
Jo Norton, a History teacher and University of Exeter graduate was elected to represent the ward of Canonsleigh on Mid Devon District Council. Jo is an alumnus of the Young Greens flagship training programme 30 under 30.
The first win of the night was Dom Armstrong, elected to South Washington ward on Sunderland City Council.
Andrew is a hard-working local campaigner and sheep farmer who caught the headlines by spray painting 'Vote Andy' on his sheep. He now joins six newly-elected Green councillors on Mid Suffolk District Council, taking the Greens total to 12 on the council.
Shahin Ashraf MBE
Shahin Ashraf MBE joins three newly-elected Green councillors on Solihull Council to bring the Green councillor total to 14.
Shahin has been Head of Global Advocacy for an international development organisation and is an MBE holder from 2015 for her services to interfaith and community cohesion. Shahin’s win was congratulated on twitter by the CEO of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).