Vote Green! Photo: Leo Reynolds via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).
Greens overtake UKIP and Libdems - over 4,000 new members in 2 days!
15th January 2015
The Green party today overtook both UKIP and the LibDems the on number of paid-up members. After a surge of 4,000 new members in two days, the Greens UK-wide now have 44,713 members, 4,000 more than UKIP, and 1,500 more than the LibDems.
According to the Green party's press office, 'membership continues to surge at an unprecedented rate today'. In other words, the Greens are set to overtake the Libdems in a matter of days.
Massive media exposure over the televised debates for the 2015 election has propelled Green Party membership forward by 4,043 people in 48 hours to reach a total of 44,713.
This now puts membership of the UK's three Green parties ahead of both UKIP, which claimed 41,514 members on Monday this week, and the LibDems, who claimed 44,576 members as of November 2015.
Back in April 2014 the LibDems reported a "membership surge" with numbers rising by about 1,000 a year - but now the Greens have gained four as many members in two days.
The Green Party of England and Wales now has 36,687 members, and (this morning's figures) the Scottish Greens have 8,026 members and the Green Party in Northern Ireland has 322 members.
The Greens defeated the LibDems in the 2014 Euro-elections and are now polling at their highest levels ahead of a General Election since 1989, a breakthrough year in which they won 15% of the vote in the Euro-elections.
TV debate debate works to Green advantage
The #Greensurge gathered new momentum as the political controversy over Green participation in the pre-election TV debates ran as yesterday's top Westminster story on the BBC and other news outlets.
Last week Ofcom made a provisional decision to exclude the Green Party from the general election debates. However the Prime Minister, David Cameron, described the decision as unjust and pledged that he would not participate so long as the Greens were excluded.
Cameron and Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, clashed on the issue at Prime Minister's questions yesterday. Miliband accused Cameron of making a "pathetic excuse" for not participating: "He has run out of excuses, he is running scared of these debates and in the words of his heroine Margaret Thatcher 'he is frit'."
But Cameron retorted: "You cannot have two minor parties taking place without the third minor party ... Why's he so chicken when he comes to the Greens? ... When he looks at the Green Party, why's he so scared?"
The argument carries conviction since the Greens are committed to a number of left-wing policies - including the return of private public service monopolies such as railways to the public sector, and the launch of a reflationary 'Green New Deal' - which most Labour supporters would love to see Miliband adopt.
Miliband evades the real debate
Miliband also refused to discuss the substantive question of whether the Greens should be in the pre-election debate, despite being challenged to support the Greens by their leader Natalie Bennett.
"Staging the debates without the Prime Minister might score a point but would not serve the public, who rightly expect the political parties and the broadcasters to find a format that is acceptable to all concerned", Bennett wrote to the three party leaders.
"As a substantial majority of the British public would like to see the Green Party included in the debates, an alternative way forward would be for you to agree to this. This is the way forward which serves both democracy and the electorate best."
On 13th January YouGov revealed polling that puts the Green Party of England and Wales at second place among 18-24 year-olds, tied with the Conservatives on 22% - comfortably ahead of both the Liberal Democrats and UKIP.
Its polls have also shown the Green and LibDems roughly tied for fourth place for voting intention for several months, with the latest poll putting the Greens at 7% compared to the LibDems at 6%. YouGov polling also shows strong public support for the Greens joining the debates
The Green Party of England and Wales is standing candidates in at least 75% of seats in May 2015 - 50% up on 2010.
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