15 March 2010
The Green Party announced today plans to field over 300 candidates in the forthcoming general election (1) - more than in any previous UK general election.
The London Greens look set for a historic first-ever full slate. The South West will field the largest number of candidates of any region outside the capital, contesting about 70 per cent of the constituencies.
This year, the Green Party is pursuing the same targeting strategy that has seen the party treble its number of council seats in a decade. The three target seats, selected as having the best prospects of a breakthrough, are:
* Brighton Pavilion - Caroline Lucas, the party leader and the area's MEP since 1999, was favoured by 35% in an ICM poll in December 2009 by voters in the constituency, 8 points ahead of the Conservatives, with Labour trailing a poor third. The YouGov/PoliticsHome survey of marginal constituencies in October last year also predicted a Green win in Brighton Pavilion, where the Greens hold a majority of the local council seats and have outpolled all other parties in every election since 2005
* Norwich South - Adrian Ramsay, the party's deputy leader, has built his local party into a powerful electoral machine (2). From 7 councillors in Norwich in 2005, they now have 20 councillors (13 on the city council, where they are the only Green Party group to be in official opposition; 7 on the county council). The Greens have outpolled all other parties in the last three rounds of elections in the whole city of Norwich, and finished 3,000 votes ahead of second-placed Labour in last year's Euro-elections - increasing their number of county council seats in Norwich on the same day from 2 to 7.
* Lewisham Deptford - Darren Johnson, the party's trade and industry spokesperson, is the current chair of the London Assembly. Johnson has been elected to the London Assembly three times in a row. He has twice been elected to Lewisham Borough Council, securing the highest vote of all 54 Lewisham councillors. Lewisham is the strongest local party in London for the Greens, who now hold 6 local council seats where in 2005 they held 1.
A party spokesperson commented today:
"There's a greater need for the Green Party challenge than ever before, with the big three parties increasingly similar in their policies and none of them offering the requisite action on issues like jobs, the NHS, public transport and pensions."
Notes to editors:
1. The Green Party of England and Wales has selected 279 candidates already but a number of selection processes are yet to be completed. The Scottish Green Party has selected 19 candidates, and the Northern Ireland Greens have so far selected two candidates and expect to contest a third constituency.