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11th October 2014

Green party membership surge in Manchester

The Manchester Green Party receives a surge in new members, mirroring the national picture. The Young Greens see a 100 per cent increase in members.

Membership of Manchester Green Party has increased by over 80 per cent since the beginning of 2014. This surge in growth is mirrored by the expansion of the Greens across the country.

Recently released figures from the Green Party show nationally total membership is up 45 per cent this year; passing 20,000. The memberships among the Young Greens grew by 100 per cent this year.

Siobhan MacMahon, Young Greens co-chair said “The Young Greens’ 100 per cent growth this year is testament to a sea-change going on in politics.”

MacMahon added, “consistently polling at over 10 per cent among 16-24 year olds, the Young Greens have not held back from challenging the establishment, calling for free education, affordable and publicly-owned transport, an end to migrant-bashing and a halt to the continual attacks on young people.”

The Green Party leader Natalie Bennett in response to this surge said, “We are now, with the rapid growth in recent months, in an increasingly strong position to ensure voters understand our message about the need for real change for the common good.”

The Green Party will have candidates standing in 50 per cent more seats in 2015 than in 2010, with the total reaching 75 per cent of seats.

Tom Beckett, Fundraising and Operations Director, said: “The Green Party warmly welcomes all the new members. Members are the lifeblood of the Green Party, a truly democratic party which allows members to help form policy.” Green Party members help to form policy at both their spring and autumn conferences.

Manchester Green Party Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Withington, Lucy Bannister, 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 latest released figures. We are the party with the most popular policies in the city according to independent survey website VoteforPolicies and we campaigning hard on those issues.”

VotesforPolicies, from the results of 425,840 completed surveys across the country, also puts the Green Party most popular nationally with 25.46 per cent.

Natasha Brooks and Amy Howard, present co-chairs of Manchester Young Greens said in a statement, “In Manchester this year the Greens got the second highest amount of votes in the local election, making us the main opposition for Manchester City Council.

“We stand up for free education, a £10 minimum wage and a functioning and effective NHS – Green politics aim to benefit society as a whole, not just those who shout the loudest or have the deepest pockets. We couldn’t do this without our passionate campaigners and by collaborating with other groups on campus.”

Joel Smith, former chair of Manchester Young Greens responded saying, “The membership surge is fantastic news. People are increasingly seeing the Green Party as the only viable left wing alternative with substantial policies that move away from our current political model.

“The party leads the way on issues of inequality, electoral reform, nuclear weapons, energy policy and transport. With the Greens already coming second place last year in key student council wards like Fallowfield and Old Moat it’ll be interesting to see how the youth membership rise translates to student votes next May in the General and Council elections.”

With nearly 4,000 members the Green Party have a larger youth wing than UKIP’s 2600, despite being behind them in terms of total memberships; UKIP according to the House of Commons Library report having 39,000 members.

The Green Party are polling on 6% in the Independent’s latest “poll of polls”, which reveals that 12% of people who voted Lib Dem in 2010 intend to vote Green in May 2015.

The party is the highest it’s been in the polls since 1989. It’s out-performance of the Liberal Democrats in the EU elections, in terms of both numbers of MEP’s and total percentage of the vote, has been considerable.

Sarah Birch, Professor of Comparative Politics at Glasgow University, in a blog for the London School of Economics and Political Science, writes that “Britain’s established trio of parties are all manifestly exercised by the purple threat… so frenzied are they in their efforts that they seem to have lost sight of other-hued challenges.

“The traditional parties should be on their guard for a green surge.”

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