Green Party makes council breakthroughs in general election target areas

The party looks competitive on the Isle of Wight and in the South West of England

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Indy Politics

The Green Party has made steady gains in local elections across the country, with council breakthroughs in areas it is targeting at the general election.

As results still trickle in at 10.30am the Greens are the only party other than the Conservatives to net gain council seats, having doubled its wins in areas declared so far from 5 to 10.

Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley is heading to the Isle of Wight this morning after the party won its first Green councillor on the island’s authority. The Greens came out of the blue at the 2015 general election to win 13.4 per cent of the vote, one of its best results nationwide. 

A party source described the win on the island as “particularly sweet” having come second in over half a dozen seats on the islands and beating Labour and the Lib Dems in vote share.

The party also won its first seat in Wales, on Powys council, and gained councillors across the West Country: two on Somerset County Council and one on Dorset. The party also gained in Gloucestershire and held its two seats in Warwickshire.

Molly Scott Cato, the Green MEP for South West England, who is standing to become MP for Bristol West, said the results “bode well for a parliamentary gain in Bristol in a month's time”. She is the bookies’ favourite to win the seat.

Activists however expect to lose some seats in areas yet to be declared.

The Scottish Greens, who are a separate party, also expect to make gains, with counting in local elections north of the border starting today. The party picked up one seat in Orkney as this article was published. 

A Green Party source told The Independent: “When the rest of the left is floundering the Greens are taking steps forward. 

“Some had predicted a real squeeze in these elections but we've won seats of the Tories and are looking at doing well in Scotland. 

“The Isle of Wight result is particularly sweet - we're clearly the only challenge to Tory rule on the Island.”

The victories come despite a squeeze in the Greens' national vote share in recent opinion polls. Local constituency Green parties have stood down in some areas where they believe another candidate is more likely to win a marginal seat against the Conservatives.