Lucas eyes a seat in the Commons for Greens

Despite taking only two seats in the European Parliament, the Green Party believes it is better positioned than ever to capture a seat in the Commons at the next election.

The reduction in the overall number of MEPs meant the Greens needed to improve their vote just to hold on to the two seats they won five years ago.

In the South East, the party increased its share of the vote by half, from 8 per cent to 12 per cent, pushing Labour into fifth place. That ensured that the party leader, Caroline Lucas, held her seat.

Jean Lambert also held a seat in London, where the Greens beat Ukip to fourth place, with 11 per cent of the vote. The party's vote across Britain rose from 6.2 per cent in 2004 to 8.7 per cent.

It narrowly missed picking up seats in the North West and Yorkshire, where it lost to the BNP, and in the East, where it won 9 per cent of the vote.

The party came first in Brighton and Hove, putting Caroline Lucas in pole position to take Brighton Pavilion from Labour at the general election.