Membership of the Green Party has surged up 45% this year and just passed 20,000 for the first time. The steep membership uptick is mirrored by recent rises in the polls which sees the Greens riding high at their highest numbers ahead of a General Election since 1989, a breakthrough year.
Membership of the Young Greens, the youth branch of the Party, has been rocketed up by 100% since March this year. Green Party members help form policy at both Spring and Autumn Conferences. The Green Party outperformed the Liberal Democrats in the May 2014 European Elections both in terms of MEPs returned and percentage of the total vote.
The Green surge shows no sign of slowing. The Greens say they will standing candidates in at least 75% of seats at the 2015 General Election – that is 50% more than in 2010
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said: "When I joined the Green Party in 2006, we had barely more than a third of the membership level we've reached today. This isn't a 'new' Green Party; our understanding that social and environmental justice are inextricably linked, and our democratic methods of policy and decision-making haven't changed".
Ms Bennett continued: "But we are now, with the rapid growth in recent months, in an increasingly strong position to ensure voters understand our message about the need for real change for the common good. More and more people in England and Wales are hearing that we are calling for a £10 per hour minimum wage by 2020, for rich individuals and multinational companies to be forced to pay their fair share of tax, for the finance sector to be made to serve the needs of the real economy, rather than threaten it with disaster."
Tom Beckett, Fundraising and Operations Director, said: "These astounding across-the-board membership rises clearly demonstrate that more and more people appreciate that the Green Party is the only party committed to transforming our economy and shaking up business-as-usual Westminster politics. The Green Party warmly welcomes all the new members. Members are the lifeblood of the Green Party, a truly democratic party which allows members to help form policy."
Siobhan MacMahon, Young Greens co-chair, also commenting said: "The growth of the Young Greens this year has been spectacular. We have doubled in size since March alone to nearly 4,000 members - significantly larger than the Liberal Democrat's youth wing. Thousands were inspired through the European elections, Green Party conference and even the Scottish referendum that the Greens' vision young people is a genuine progressive alternative to the same-old right-wing politics of the coalition parties, as well as Labour and UKIP.
"Consistently polling at over 10% among 16-24 year olds, the Young Greens have not held back from challenging the establishment, calling for free education, affordable and publicly-owned transport, an end to migrant-bashing and a halt to the continual attacks on young people. The youth of Britain have been at the sharp end of austerity, and are increasingly realising that none of the other parties have stood up to the huge hike in tuition fees, cuts to youth services and EMA and the dire lack of cheap housing for 'Generation Rent'."
"The Young Greens' 100% growth this year is testament to a sea-change going on in politics. New groups are springing up across the country every week, campaigning on the issues that really matter to this generation but that are ignored by the mainstream parties. We look forward to next year's General Election, in which dozens of Young Greens are expected to stand.”