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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 30 April, 2002, 08:29 GMT 09:29 UK
Greens target Labour voters
Polling station
The Green Party is confident of gains on Thursday
Thousands of disillusioned Labour voters could switch to the Green Party at Thursday's local election, the party's leaders claim.

The party, which is fielding its highest number of candidates in a local election since 1995, claims it is picking up "bucketloads" of support from traditional Labour voters.

Darren Johnson, who represents the Greens on the Greater London Assembly, said: "Labour have taken people for granted."

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We are getting bucketloads of votes from disillusioned Labour voters. It is not just a protest vote.

Green Party leader Darren Johnson
Johnson says Labour is complacent
"People are despairing and disillusioned with Labour's inability to deliver on public services.

"People like what we are saying and want to see some Greens getting in."

He said Labour had been too cautious and overly concerned with not upsetting Middle England.

Labour had responded to the challenge posed by the Green Party and as a result there was a "serious" local election campaign in many areas for the first time in years, which could lead to a higher turnout, Mr Johnson said.

Car ban

The Greens are hoping to build on recent recent electoral successes in Europe in Thursday's poll.

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.

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

Strongholds

It hopes to make gains in key strongholds such as Camden, in London, Manchester and Bristol.

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.

The Green Party currently has 45 local councillors on 22 authorities, plus three 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.


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30 Apr 02 | UK Politics
25 Apr 02 | UK Politics
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