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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 24 April, 2002, 12:23 GMT 13:23 UK
Greens poised for local breakthrough
Oxford city centre
The Greens are concentrating on local issues
The Green Party is hoping to build on recent electoral successes in Europe to make a series of breakthroughs at next month's English local elections.


We want the parties to have a small number of core issues that they campaign on

Penny Kemp, Green Party
The party already has a record number of councillors and shares power on three local authorities.

It is fielding 1,046 candidates across the country, its highest number since 1995.

Its leaders believe it has made the most progress where it has concentrated on local issues such as traffic management and mobile phone masts.

It hopes to repeat this tactic at key strongholds such as Camden, in London, Manchester and Bristol, where it can mobilise significant numbers of activists to mount an effective campaign.

High-profile

In Oxford, where the Greens have eight councillors and share power with the Liberal Democrats, the party has helped introduce a virtual ban on cars from the city centre.

Green Party local election broadcast
The Greens claim to be gaining ground
Penny Kemp, who chairs the Green's executive, said it had worked hard to sharpen its campaigning skills in recent years.

"We are making sure that local parties are very well-organised and prepared to fight a high-profile campaign in the local elections," she told BBC News Online.

"One of the problems of the green party in the past is that different sections of the party have tended to develop their own policies.

"We want the parties to have a small number of core issues that they campaign on."

'Never loooked so good'

The Greens claim to be gaining the most support from disaffected Labour voters.

The party's media spokesman Spencer Fitz-Gibbon refused to say what its target was nationally for gaining seats.

But he said the party were hoping to make significant gains.

Last month, it unveiled a controversial local election broadcast featuring nude models, with the message "we've never looked so good".

Gaining members

The ad was directed by former Labour supporter Jack Price, who decided to switch his allegiance to the Greens after making a "fly-on-the-wall" party election broadcast about Tony Blair.

The party has been encouraged by recent successes in the European Parliament and in London Assembly elections, where it gained three members.

The Greens currently has 45 local councillors on 22 authorities, plus 3 members of the Greater London Assembly.

On 2 May, the party is contesting every available seat on seven councils: Cambridge, Norwich, Manchester, Bristol, Exeter and Camden.

There will be at least one Green candidate in every ward at seven other elections.

See also:

27 Mar 01 | Entertainment
31 Aug 01 | UK Politics
15 May 01 | Entertainment
27 Mar 01 | UK Politics
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