Green Party could dampen Labour's celebrations in Nottinghamshire

Frank Adlington-Stringer wearing a green suit and white shirt
-Credit: (Image: Nottingham Post/Joseph Raynor)

Many activists and candidates across Nottinghamshire were perhaps channelling their inner Brenda from Bristol with her cry of "not another one" when Rishi Sunak called the general election. With all parties having fought a fierce campaign during the East Midlands Mayor race, the general assumption was that they would have a break over the summer before returning to pounding the streets and banging on doors.

Yet the fact that the East Midlands Mayor race is still so fresh in the mind as we head into this general election may be rather beneficial to one of the traditionally smaller parties. Will this general election finally see the Greens make a solid dent in Nottinghamshire?

Although the climate crisis is an issue becoming increasingly dominant in the news agenda, this has not yet translated into greater electoral representation here for the Greens. Of all Nottinghamshire's 11 parliamentary constituencies and nine councils, the Green Party has only two elected representatives in the entire county - both sitting on Rushcliffe Borough Council.

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Yet this time around, the heightened awareness of climate issues and the unease from many on the left of the Labour movement about the party's direction could see the Greens pull off some surprises. The idea may have seemed far-fetched not so long ago, but the detailed results from May's East Midlands Mayor race now suggest otherwise.

It certainly wasn't a time for celebration across the board, with the Greens coming fifth out of six candidates in places like Ashfield, Bassetlaw and Mansfield. Yet across many other areas of Nottinghamshire, the party achieved some very impressive results.

The Nottingham result was remarkable, with the Greens coming third and only 2,500 votes behind the Conservative Party. The Greens also came third in Rushcliffe, Broxtowe and Gedling.

Frank Adlington-Stringer, the Green Party's mayoral candidate, said at the time that the May result was evidence of people voting positively for the Greens, rather than in opposition to Labour. Yet issues within the Labour movement undoubtedly played a role and unease about the party's stance on Gaza continues to be seen in this general election campaign.

To that end, George Galloway is standing four candidates in Nottinghamshire under the Workers Party of Britain banner. Mr Galloway has selected two of Nottingham's three seats to have a go at, as well as Newark and Broxtowe.

Voters are certainly spoilt for choice, with candidates from parties ranging from the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition to the English Democrats having a go in Nottinghamshire at this election. If the polls are to be believed, many of these smaller parties, including the Greens, will not actually achieve victory this time.

The one exception to the struggle for smaller parties to get in could be in Ashfield, where the contest has been described as a "two-horse race" between Reform's Lee Anderson and Jason Zadrozny for the Ashfield Independents. Inevitably, it is only those two candidates describing the election as a fight between them.

Yet it may not be too wide of the mark. Although the turnouts are much lower at local council elections, the makeup of Ashfield District Council is evidence that the area has a propensity to reject the usual mainstream parties.

The Ashfield Independents dominate the authority, with only two Conservative councillors and one Labour councillor to oppose them. Outside of Ashfield though, a straight victory will not be the only measure of success for smaller parties like the Greens.

The important factor for parties in the short-term is undoubtedly who wins a seat, but other factors come into play when it comes to thinking about the future. A party can still win a seat, but with their share of the vote having decreased from the last election.

Going by what the Greens achieved across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire in May, the idea of the party increasing their vote share at Labour's expense is not out of the question. As it stands, the polls suggest it will be Labour celebrations all round in Nottinghamshire come July 5.

Yet the Greens may yet cause them some disquiet about future elections. After all, you never know when the next one is round the corner.