Leicester Green Party History
A History of Greens in Leicestershire
The first Green candidate in Leicestereshire was David Whitebread in 1979, standing in Loughborough for the Ecology Party, as it was then known. Leicester Party was founded in the same year, partly stimulated by his candidacy.
The first parliamentary candidate in Leicester itself was Christopher Davies, standing in 1983 for Leicester South. Brian Fewster stood in Harborough in the same year.
Activity continued throughout the eighties, culminating in an apparent breakthrough in 1989 when Christopher Davies gained 18% of the vote in the European election of that year.
Similar results were repeated nationwide, but the unfairness of the first-past-the-post system, as it then operated (and still does in national and local elections) meant that no Green MEPs were elected.
During the 1990s Leicester Green Party gradually increased its share of the vote in the inner-city constituencies, including a 4.7% for Geoff Forse in Leicester West in 2005 that came just short of a saved deposit. Given that this was still a first-past-the-post election, it compares well with the 5.45% gained by the East Midlands Green Party in the 2004 European election.
Geoff and Agent Matt Gough have helped the party to target more its resources more effectively. At a local level, we concentrated on building up the vote in certain city council wards along with concentration on local issues, such as Bob Ball's championing of a threatened post office. This almost bore fruit in 2003, when Bob failed by the narrowest of margins to get elected in Castle Ward.
After several recounts his vote was exactly equivalent to that of one of the Labour candidates, and the returning officer had to pick one of the two names out of a box.
Bob was unlucky on that occasion, but he had laid the foundation for Matt Follett and Phil Gordon to be elected by a substantial majority four years later, in the summer of 2007, after a colourful campaign that included massed T-shirts and a supportive visit by Green Party National Speaker Sian Berry.