The Green Party of England and Wales are celebrating a night of steady progress after they added to their number of councillors and successfully defended seats in existing strongholds.
The Greens won 34 seats – a net increase of 11.
They succeeded in winning seats in target areas such as Reading and Dudley and defended all six seats in Norwich.
In London, mayor candidate Jenny Jones beat the Lib Dem candidate to come third.
And the party also came third in the list of “London-wide” assembly members – winning two of the seats allocated via a form of proportional representation.
Asked if the party could make headway in Parliament, where they currently have one MP, Ms Jones said: “We definitely can get elected… If we can do this in London, just make such a splash, then we can do it in other places as well.”
However Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable said the Greens were “very, very localised” in their local election performance: “We could have lost a lot of ground to the Greens but we haven’t, where we have lost ground it’s mostly been to Labour.”
The Greens contested 943 seats in 119 councils and defended 22 seats they already held.
They have won an average of 9% of the vote in 454 wards and their vote is up by one point in those wards they also fought last year.
They had mixed fortunes in different parts of the country, winning all six seats up for grabs in Norwich – enabling them to remain as the second largest party on the council there and the main opposition to Labour.
The party also gained their third seat on Reading council.
But they lost their sole seat on Cambridge council after Adam Pogonowski defected to Labour before polls opened, saying he wanted to be part of a “bigger party that has real power to make a difference for people”.
The Greens had hoped to win their first ever seat on Cardiff council, having fielded 37 candidates across the city – but have not picked up any seats in results declared so far.
05/04/2012 – 12:00