Leicester Green Party History
The Leicester Green Party (LGP) was formed in 1979 when five members visited the Loughborough Ecology Party (as it was then known), to help with their general election campaign and their candidate David Whitebread. Amongst those who attended this meeting was long-term member Christopher Davies who, along with the other four, started the Leicester Ecology Party later to become the Leicester Green Party.
In 1981 the LGP stood in the local elections, and in 1983 we stood in Leicester South constituency for the general election where Chris Davies obtained 495 votes. The Labour Party believed this caused Jim Marshall, their candidate, to lose the election to the Tory candidate by seven votes after six re-counts. We know that this was not true. The reason they lost the election was because they supported, and still do support, the first past the post voting system. To paraphrase a famous saying; you live by the voting system, you die by the voting system.
At the same election Brian Fewster stood in the Harborough constituency and obtained 802 votes. Activity continued in the eighties although in the 1987 general election we only stood a candidate in Leicester South.
However, the 80s culminated with our biggest success to date. In the 1989 European elections Chris Davies obtained 18% of the vote and the Green Party obtained 15% nationally - although under the first past the post electoral system of the time we did not get anybody elected. We all thought this was to be the great breakthrough with national membership soaring above 18,000. But it was not to be and in the following general election of 1992 we were back to 1-2% of the vote. The LGP then struggled for several years with several local parties in Leicestershire amalgamating to form one party. We did stand candidates in the 1997 general election, the 1995 and 1999 local elections, and the 1994 and 1999 European elections.
We gradually rebuilt the LGP standing in Leicester South and Leicester West in the 2001 general election. In the 2003 local elections we nearly had the breakthrough we had been working for. After four recounts, we tied for the third and final seat in the Castle ward and only lost when the Labour candidate's name was drawn from a ballot box instead of our candidate, Bob Ball.
We again stood in Leicester South and Leicester West in the 2005 general election. In the 2007 local elections we finally got out breakthrough with two Green candidates being elected to represent Castle ward. Unfortunately after a couple of years Councillor Matt Follet resigned as he moved to Brighton and then Councillor Phil Gordon was tragically killed in an accident. We lost both by elections but came second on both occasions.
In the 2010 general election we stood in all three Leicester constituencies for the first time, the first time standing more than 2 parliamentary candidates. In the 2011 local elections we did not get anybody elected but game fourth, seventh and eighth out of fourteen candidates standing for three seats. This was an election where Labour won 52 out of 54 seats in the city. We also stood a mayoral candidate, Geoff Forse, coming within a few hundred votes of saving our deposit.
In 2014 Green politics in Leicestershire has been rejuvenated with two new local parties starting in Loughborough and Melton and Rutland. We are now planning to stand our largest number of parliamentary candidates in Leicestershire and our largest number of local election candidates in Leicester. We have experienced a surge in new membership mirroring that occurring in the Green party nationally, and have founded a Young Greens group
at the University of Leicester.