With 164 out of 248 council election results declared, the Green Party is celebrating a historic victory and vowing to “carry the Remain banner” into European Parliament elections.
The party is up 95 council seats on a record total of 127 councillors so far.
As lunchtime declarations were made on Friday, Green Party deputy leader Amelia Womack told The London Economic the party was celebrating a “Green Wave”:
“As we head into lunchtime on Friday, with many results still to come, there’s a green wave forming across the country.
“As of noon, there are 51 Green gains around the country, with 15 new councils having Green representation for the first time.
“This is the biggest election night in our history, and we’re further demonstrating that Greens can win anywhere in the country, with broad support in a wide range of communities.”
“Brexit is clearly a significant issue in voters’ minds, even in these local elections. The clear Green message: supporting continuing membership of the EU, campaigning for such in a People’s Vote, celebrating freedom of movement and keeping the environmental, workers’ rights and working with the peoples of Europe to force multinational companies to pay their taxes, is fast winning additional support.
“We were of course the largest remain group in the last European parliament, with three great MEPs, and today’s results are going to be a great platform to increase that number on May 23.”
With MPs recording a historic vote in parliament this week to declare a “climate emergency” that needs to be dealt with, environmental concerns are gaining momentum in mainstream news and politics and may have also reflected the strength of the Green Party vote.
The party has not only made gains in cities which have seen strong feelings expressed about a People’s Vote for final say on Brexit, as well as Extinction rebellion and school strikes demonstrating against a lack of progress towards climate targets.
The Greens in fact won more seats than ever in Shire Councils, Metropolitan and Unitary Councils.
Jonathan Bartley, Green Party co-leader, said: “Greens are winning right across the country, and taking seats from a wide range of other parties.
“The Green message is clearly taking hold and can win anywhere.”
He added: “It is also clear that Brexit has played a significant role in these elections. Greens have been clear in standing up for the UK’s membership of the European Union and will continue to do so.
“We were the largest Remain party in the last European Parliament, with three great English MEPs, and are ready to carry the Remain banner into the European election campaign.”
In another sign of a shift away from the major parties, independent councillors gained more than 300 council seats. And in a sign unambiguously Remain-supporting parties were reaping the benefits, Ukip lost the majority of their councillors.
The Greens increased votes from a good result for the party in the 2015 local elections, held on the same day as a general election in which the Greens won more than 1m votes, 3.8% of the total.