Local elections were held across much of England on May 4th. The Green Party have made historic gains in them and what is most striking about this news, is that they gained for the first time ever complete control of a local council.
The Greens won control of the Mid Suffolk district council, winning a massive 24 of 34 available seats, pushing the Conservatives down to six. The Conservatives previously held 16 seats as the largest party before the current election. The remaining four seats were won by Liberal Democrats. Previously, the Greens had held only 12 seats on the local council.
Andy Mellen, leader of the Green Party in Mid Suffolk, told the BBC: “I think this result shows that there is a real appetite for a bunch of sensible, practical people who have got the energy and commitment to make change in their community and that’s why a lot of people voted for us.”
📈 We have gained 200 councillors in these local elections thanks to your votes.
💚 Now join the Green Party!#GetGreensElected
— The Green Party (@TheGreenParty) May 6, 2023
Across England, where the majority but not all of local councils were holding elections, the Greens also did well. They also doubled their number of local councillors, gaining 241 at the time of writing. In several other councils they gained the largest number of seats, though this did not give them a majority and thus they didn’t gain complete control over the council. In other areas they secured the second highest number making them the official opposition.
The co-leader of the Green Party in England and Wales manifested satisfaction, calling the results “fantastic”.
The gains came at the expense of the ruling Conservative party who suffered major losses while Labour and Liberal Democrats – along with Greens – made gains everywhere.
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There are some good reasons for the Greens’ big win. Part of the explanation must be sought in the general disappointment in the Conservatives government who have become increasingly unpopular: A poll in March by Ipsos found 77% of those polled were dissatisfied with the government.
The Greens own strategy deserves much of the credit too. As well as increasingly widespread concern about the environment, the greens focused heavily on local issues. In Mid Suffolk this included housing developments and rejuvenation of the high street.
For the Greens, a big plus was being visibly active in the local community for a long time. A level of trust they’ve built up over 20 years since winning their first ever seat in mid Sussex in 2003.
Latest scoreboard for England for #LocalElections2023 from #BBCElection.
Full results: https://t.co/2AW7pVlzxw pic.twitter.com/PwFDfRRYU8
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) May 6, 2023
While not as big a deal as general elections, local councils are important since they are the closest level of democracy to the public in the UK. Local Councils are responsible for waste disposal, cleaning, parking, planning, and much more that affect local communities directly.
More than that, they are often viewed as a barometer for the popularity of the current government. With a general election due next year, the local election results are poor for the ruling Conservatives, with polling suggesting opposition Labour will win.
For the Greens, while they’ve done well in these local elections, their support is spread across the UK. This means, given the UK’s first-past-the post political system, that they find it hard to have members elected to parliament.
However, as climate change and sustainability become increasingly important issues amongst voters, the Greens are aiming to build on their local success in next year’s general election.
Writing on Twitter, the Deputy leader of the Greens Adrian Ramsay optimistically said the results: “paves the way for success at the General Election and a Green MP in Suffolk.”
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — In the Featured Photo: Green Party College green Carla Natalie, September 2019. Featured Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons