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Is the grass greener?

Julie Hay
Politics Show East

Norwich is the greenest council in the country following Thursday night's local elections.

James Abott is a long standing Green councillor in Braintree and has watched the green vote grow in the East.

Here's his view of the events of the night.

James Abott
We cannot claim yet to be a 'main' party, but we are certainly no longer a 'minor' party.
Cllr. James Abbott (Green Party) Braintree District Council

It was another good night for the Greens in the local elections in Eastern Region with four gains, although we missed out quite narrowly on winning several more seats.

Norwich Greens consolidated their already strong position to take three more seats and become the largest opposition party on the council with thirteen councillors.

This is the first time this has ever happened for the Greens in the UK.

What was even more remarkable for those of us who have been in the party for many years, was to see the votes aggregated for all wards across the city piling up so that the Greens actually had more votes than any other party - something we could have only dreamed of in the 1980s and 1990s.

In Charles Clarke's' Norwich South constituency, as in 2007, the Green vote topped the poll, and this time by around 2,000 votes - a pointer to a very intriguing general election contest to come.

Margaret Wright
Margaret Wright won a seat on Cambridge City Council

Margaret Wright, a hard working and long standing Green Party campaigner, at last won a seat on Cambridge City Council after many years of trying.

In the end Margaret won comfortably to take our first ever seat on the council.

In Colchester, a Green breakthrough did not materialise.

A very hard fought contest between the Greens and Lib Dems in Castle ward resulted in the Greens coming second again.

In Wivenhoe Quay, the Green vote surged and it looks now like a three-way marginal between Greens, Labour and the Tories who hold the seat.

Elsewhere, good results were secured in Welwyn Hatfield and Waveney, with one ward in the former and two wards in the latter seeing the Greens come within about 100 votes of winning.

In Watford, a Green seat was held with over 50% of the vote and good progress made in other wards.

Cambridge count
Candidates watch over the Cambridge count

In total, 170 Green candidates were fielded in the region - a record 40% or so of all seats being contested.

We cannot claim yet to be a "main" party, but we are certainly no longer a "minor" party.

Voters are increasingly supporting the Greens in council elections in our region, bringing a new dimension to local politics - as well as a splash of colour to wards across the region where hundreds of Green Party posters were on display.

On the doorstep, people were generally very friendly - even those who were voting for other parties.

All these experiences, as well as the results, suggest strongly that there is more progress yet to come.

The Politics Show East

The Politics Show with Jon Sopel and Etholle George on Sunday 04 May 2008 at 1200 BST on BBC One.

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