St Albans Greens see growth in party membership following elections

PUBLISHED: 14:34 31 May 2019 | UPDATED: 15:31 31 May 2019

St Albans Green committee member Ruth Farenga, Cllr Simon Grover, Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley and  Green Party member Jack Easton. Picture: Archant

St Albans Green committee member Ruth Farenga, Cllr Simon Grover, Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley and Green Party member Jack Easton. Picture: Archant

Archant

The St Albans Green Party has seen a surge in membership since the local and European elections.

New Green Party MEP Dr Catherine Rowett with her colleagues after the result was declared. Picture: PAUL GEATERNew Green Party MEP Dr Catherine Rowett with her colleagues after the result was declared. Picture: PAUL GEATER

In both the recent May elections, the Green Party enjoyed unprecedented success across the country - increasing its number of local councillors by 194 and MEP seats by four.

Locally, the Greens took just over 12 per cent of the votes in the EU election, less than the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit Party but more than the Conservative Party and Labour.

Fifty per cent more people also backed Green in the St Albans district council shake-up.

Since then, the St Albans Green Party membership has increased by ten per cent in the last month, up from 173 to 190.

Green district councillor Simon GroverGreen district councillor Simon Grover

The only Green councillor at SADC, Cllr Simon Grover, said: "We're attracting people because we are clear about where we stand on critical national issues like remaining in the EU, ending austerity and fighting climate breakdown.

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"We are equally clear about where we stand and what we are campaigning for locally on issues like clean air, cutting traffic, good public transport and affordable homes."

He said the Green Party are calling for home insulation, 20mph residential roads, electric and hybrid car charging points, improvement to public transport, investment in renewable heat and solar power, a large-scale tree-planting programme and a rewilding project to increase biodiversity.

"Local people in St Albans generally do a lot to be environmentally friendly but the council has a crucial role," he said.

"Time is running out. We need radical, serious programmes that make a substantial difference to help secure a liveable world for this and future generations."

Leaders of both the St Albans Conservatives, Cllr Mary Maynard, and St Albans Labour, Cllr Roma Mills, put the MEP election result down to Brexit tension.

Cllr Maynard said many lifelong Conservatives switched to Remain parties: "In St Albans and district the majority view is in, so the Greens, who are the only party to unambiguously support in, have benefitted the most.

"The Liberal Democrats, whose slogan is 'Vote again and get it right this time', also benefitted."

Cllr Mills said the MEP election was a protest vote for people who are invested in the issue: "[Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn has been trying to bring people together and acknowledge that if you back one side you alienate a lot of people."

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