Manchester Green Party membership soars by 80% as MP hopeful proclaims ‘dawn of fringe parties’

From Mancunian Matters:

A surge in Green Party supporters in Manchester shows people no longer have to think about ‘tactical voting’, says the party’s Withington candidate – as they target UKIP and Labour.

Membership in the city has increased by more than 80% since the beginning of 2014, figures released by the Green Party have revealed.

Parties such as UKIP have received a boost – not only in supporters but also in press attention – as critics have argued that Farage’s party has been given a disproportionate amount of coverage, considering they only have one seat in the House of Parliament.

Lucy Bannister, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Withington, believes it’s important for the spotlight to be shone on political parties on the rise and not just the ‘big three’ after the Greens complained of a ‘media blackout’.

She told MM: “I think it’s a good thing that UKIP are getting a lot of media attention because it’s important for the press to look at new political parties and show people that the three main parties are not the only option.

“We’ve had a huge amount of growth in certain areas just like UKIP have and we’ve had a number of events that have been just as exciting and interesting as theirs but we’ve not had that coverage.”

Lucy also claims the new-found support in Manchester could allow Greens to be a serious contender for the Labour Party in the next election.

She said: “The Greens in Manchester got the second highest amount of votes across Manchester in this year’s local elections, showing that we have now become the main challenger to the Labour Party in our city.

“Even in the constituency where I am standing next year, which has a Liberal Democrat MP, we now have more members than the Lib Dems do, according to their own figures.

“I think in the past people have maybe thought there’s no point voting Green because they’re never going to get in to power but that has now changed.

“People no longer have to think about tactical voting, if they believe in the policies of the Green Party then they can vote for the Green Party.”

In the run up to the next General Election, some have been turning their gaze away from the mainstream parties after becoming disillusioned with Westminster politics.

Membership of the Green Party in the UK has surged up 46% this year and recently passed 20,000 for the first time, meaning they will now enter the next General Election with their highest number of supporters in 25 years.

Arguably, one of the main reasons for the party’s significant growth is down to the expansion of the Young Greens, the youth branch of the party, which has seen membership rocket up by 100% since March this year.

Lucy said: “The Young Greens is open to anybody under the age of 30 or in full-time education and focuses on issues that affect them directly. In some areas, we do separate campaigns that look at issues such as tuition fees and the living wage.

“I think people are beginning to realise that our policies really do focus on areas that affect them and that’s why we’ve seen such a huge growth in that area of our party.

“We’re told constantly that young people are unengaged in politics and that there’s nothing there that really represents them but I think that young people are now thinking that the Green Party do offer something different and refreshing.”

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