The Green Party is now the largest party on Bristol City Council

A by-election victory has turned into a major breakthrough for the Greens

Green Party campaigners holding a Green Party banner in Bristol

The Green Party now has more Councillors than any other party on Bristol City Council. That follows a by-election on February 2 which saw the Greens gain a seat from the Liberal Democrats.

The Greens’ Patrick McAllister won the Hotwells & Harbourside election by just 26 votes. McAllister received 537 votes to the Liberal Democrat candidate’s 511.

McAllister is now the Greens’ 25th Councillor in Bristol. With Labour having 24 Councillors, McAllister’s victory makes the Green Group the largest on the City Council for the first time ever.

Following his election, McAllister said, “I’m humbled to be elected to represent our community at such a vital time, and want to thank the residents of Spike Island, Hotwells, Brandon Hill and the Harbourside for putting their trust in me.

“Successive Conservative-led governments and our Labour-run council[s] have left residents feeling frustrated, whether it’s through botched consultations on new developments, repair works dragging on for years, the cladding crisis or even by threatening to take our library away. There’s never been a more vital time to speak up for our communities and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Heather Mack, leader of the Green Party group on Bristol City Council welcomed the news. She said, “I’m so proud Patrick is joining 24 experienced and dedicated councillors in the Green group. I’ve known him for years as a dedicated campaigner. Throughout this campaign he’s proven to be the hardest worker in the harbour, and I know that hard work will continue.

“Residents in neighbouring wards all have Green councilors too and like what they see. People don’t live their lives in narrow ward boundaries – that’s why we will always work together as a team and put residents first. I can’t wait for Patrick to get to work.”

In more good news for the Green Party, McAllister’s election means that 17 of the 20 Councillors that cover the parliamentary constituency of Bristol West are now Greens. Bristol West is one of the Greens’ best chances of winning a second parliamentary seat the next general election. Carla Denyer, the party’s co-leader is the Green candidate for the seat.

Following the by-election victory, Denyer said, “Patrick’s outstanding win is a very significant milestone for our movement. Our country desperately needs more Green MPs to tackle the climate emergency, the cost of living crisis and save our NHS.

“Bristol is a unique city that I’m proud to call my home. At a time when Labour are polling high nationally, Bristol once again has bucked the trend. Hotwells & Harbourside residents have chosen a brilliant Young Green over a former government minister, showing there is a real changing of the guard happening here.

“Patrick and I will work tirelessly with our fellow councillors for the good of our city. The direction of travel is clear – Bristol is turning Green.”

Despite becoming the largest party on the Council, the Greens will not become the administration. That’s because the authority still has a mayoral system. Labour’s Marvin Rees is the current mayor of Bristol.

In May 2022, Bristol’s residents voted to abolish the mayoral election. This means that from the next local elections control of the council will be determined by the number of seats won by political parties.

Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward

Image credit: Matthew Phillip Long – Creative Commons

This article was jointly published with Bright Green.

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