GREEN MP Caroline Lucas says her party will be targeting all of Gloucestershire’s constituencies next year as they look to build on “pockets of extraordinary success” in Stroud and the Forest of Dean. 

The MP for Brighton Pavilion, who is visiting Cheltenham this week for a special event with environmentalist Jonathon Porritt, says voters are turning to the Green Party because they offer practical policies.

The party has a total of 37 councillors across Gloucestershire and she believes this rise is because people can see they are hardworking and like what they do.

The Greens are currently at the helm of two district councils in Gloucestershire.

They lead a minority administration in the Forest of Dean and a cooperative alliance administration at Stroud District Council’s.

They also have four members on Gloucestershire County Council.

Ms Lucas said: “It’s an exciting time to be visiting and hearing more of their plans.

“Greens are absolutely on the rise across Gloucestershire.

"We’ve got 37 councillors in total across the county.

“That’s more Greens than Labour councillors in Gloucestershire.

"Within that, there are some pockets of extraordinary Green success such as the 15 in the Forest of Dean and 14 in Stroud and lots of ambition for the district council elections coming up next year.

“People want practical policies on the ground from councillors who are really hard working and committed.

“That’s what they get from Greens. What we see time and time again is once you see the first Greens elected, people like what they do and so more vote for them next time around.”

She says people are starting to see her party as a viable option at the polls.

“What we are seeing in Gloucestershire is the Greens are achieving a critical mass.

“In other words, people understand that if they vote Green, they get Green in spite of our rather unfair electoral system.

“People feel much more able and confident about voting for what they believe in rather than feeling they have to vote for the least worst other option.

“Green councillors probably tend to work harder than most because we know we have to win each vote and there isn’t a tradition of people who say, oh I vote Green because my grandparents did.

“We know we’ve got to win those votes. We are very practical with working with others when it comes to building majorities around different plans.

“I know at County Council-level, Greens were instrumental in securing over £500,000 in funding for projects like river restoration, e-bike storage, recruitment of a biodiversity officer.

These are really practical things that will make a difference to people’s day to day lives.”

Ms Lucas says it will be important to field candidates at next year’s general election and, if there is a Labour government, to continue to push them towards being more bold and radical with their environmental policies.

“It’s more important than ever that we stand and our plans are that we stand a full slate of parliamentary candidates across Gloucestershire and to be doing as well as we possibly can.

“If it is the case there is a Labour government as the polls seem to suggest at the moment then the role of Greens is still going to be hugely important in trying to push them towards being more bold and radical.”

Caroline Lucas’ two hour event in conversation with Jonathon Porritt will discuss the planet, the UK and hope for the future.

The talk is at Parabola Arts Centre in Bayshill Road and starts at 7.30pm on November 23. Tickets are £10 each.