Strong foundation for Green Party

Speaker's Corner columnists -  Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk/opinion, @peterboroughtel on Twitter, Facebook.com/peterboroughtoday
Speaker's Corner columnists - Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk/opinion, @peterboroughtel on Twitter, Facebook.com/peterboroughtoday
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It can’t have escaped your notice that the Green Party is enjoying a surge of popularity in Peterborough, the like of which we have never known before, writes Julie Howell, co-ordinator of Peterborough Green Party

The recent snap General Election saw the vote share of all smaller political parties drop considerably across the entire country.

Green Party supporters shouldn’t feel too despondent, however.

Political pundits have been quick to hail the result as a return to two party politics, but they fail to acknowledge that the Green Party’s national vote share was squeezed by our decision to not stand candidates in a number of marginal seats where we might assist another progressive party to make gains under our unfair ‘first past the post’ electoral system. Despite this, our one MP, the mighty Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion, nearly doubled her majority making her seat in the House of Commons safe. We saved our deposits in nine seats, polling over 17 per cent of the vote on the Isle of Wight, and 16.3 per cent in Buckingham.

Here in Peterborough, our Green Party candidate Fiona Radic polled higher than the Green Party national average with 1.8 per cent of the vote. Given that Peterborough is a marginal seat our decision to stand a candidate here was not universally popular. However, after consulting with local party members it was felt that Green Party supporters should have the opportunity to vote for a Green Party candidate if they wished to.

We understand fully that we would likely experience a reduction in our vote share at this election due to the ‘Corbyn effect’. However, we were happy with the result, pleased for Labour and proud to have stood for Green policies as Peterborough is in desperate need of a strong Green voice.

Green Party candidate Greg Guthrie polled a very respectable two per cent in North West Cambridgeshire, the constituency that covers the parts of Peterborough that lie south of the River Nene.

These results contrast with the far higher vote we achieved in the far fairer Combined Authority Mayoral election back in May. All eligible voters received a booklet which contained a contribution from each candidate (many residents told us how grateful they were to receive this). In this election, our candidate Julie Howell polled 9.19 per cent of first preference votes in Peterborough (6.3 per cent of first preference votes overall).

If an independent poll of a thousand voters’ intentions published two weeks prior to the election was accurate, then she may have polled as much 14 per cent of all the second preference votes as well, quite possibly enough to affect the outcome of that election. To our candidates, members, volunteers, supporters, and voters: thank you for all your hard work and support.

These were solid results in difficult times, and we will be working tirelessly to improve on them at the next opportunity.

If you are interested in joining Peterborough Green Party or in standing for election as a Green Party candidate in any of the forthcoming elections, do drop us a line for an informal chat via our website at www.peterborough.greenparty.org.uk