In the United Kingdom’s May 7 2015 parliamentary election, the UK Greens quadrupled their national vote from 265,000 in 2010 to 1,140,000 (4%) in 2015.
Despite this huge increase in votes, the Greens held steady at one seat in parliament, coming in second in four other races. Former party leader Caroline Lucas not only retained her seat in Brighton Pavilion, but saw her margin of victory over Labour quadruple to 15% (42% to 27%).
Party leader Natalie Bennett told the Independent, “The fact that we have achieved over one million votes yet not been rewarded with more MPs draws into sharp focus just how unfair and outdated our winner-takes-all voting system is. The fight for a fairer, more democratic voting system – one which recognises the will of the people rather than entrenches the established order – begins today.”
From The Guardian: ‘”Lucas was swift to point to what she said were the failings of a “broken” electoral system, one that handed her party just one seat for its million votes. She said: “It is only proportional representation that will deliver a parliament that is truly legitimate, and that better reflects the people we represent.”’
The Conservative (Tory) party won 51% of seats in parliament, despite winning a weak plurality of 37% of the national vote. The election was a disaster for the UK’s other main parties, with the leaders of Labour and the Liberal Democrats resigning, and the UK Independence Party leader losing his seat.
Conversely, the Green Party grew from about 12,000 members to about 63,000 in the months leading up to the election, surpassing the Liberal Democrats and UKIP and signaling the party’s rise as a national force.
Highlighting the national frustration with the UK’s obsolete two-party system, dozens of world-reknowned Britons signed a letter supporting Caroline Lucas’ reelection campaign, including “Planet Earth” narrator David Attenborough, folk singer Billy Bragg, UN peace messenger Jane Goodall, actor Jeremy Irons, human rights advocate Bianca Jagger, former Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper, Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May, and Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke.
The letter reads, in part: “Over the last five years Caroline has eloquently addressed many of today’s most pressing issues – from accelerating climate change to sustainable farming, from human rights to a just and sustainable economy. This leadership matters all the more at a time when the mainstream parties are finding it so hard to address these challenges properly.”