European Elections - National Summary

The Ecology or Green Party has stood in European Elections since 1979. Elections have been held every 5 years. Up until 1999 the elections were based on a single MEP representing a cluster of about 6 parliamentary constituencies elected on a first-past-the-post (FPTP) count. From 1999 onwards elections have been on a whole region basis with electors voting for a party list using a d'Hondt counting system.

National figures

1979 - 1994 FPTP for 70 seats in England & Wales and 8 seats in Scotland. STV for 3 seats in N.Ireland.

  • Euro 1979 - Ecology  3 candidates. 17,953 votes 0% - no Ecology MEPs
  • Euro 1984 - Ecology  16 candidates. 70,853 votes 0.5% - no Ecology MEPs
  • Euro 1989 - Greens  82 candidates. 2,292,705 votes 14.9%.  - no green MEPs
    Six additional MEPs added in England & Wales for 1994 making 84+3 MEPs. Many constituency boundaries changed
  • Euro 1994 - Greens 84 candidates 494,561 votes 3.1%. - no green MEPs

1999 switch to proportional representation (d'Hondt) for the whole UK with 12 regional constituencies.
87 MEPs for 1999, 78 for 2004, 72 for 2009 and 73 for 2014. Green party list stood in all constituencies.

  • Euro 1999 - Greens 625,378 votes 6.2%. 2 Green MEPs elected (Caroline Lucas and Jean Lambert)
  • Euro 2004 - Greens 1,028,283 votes 6.2%. 2 Green MEPs re-elected
  • Euro 2009 - Greens 1,352,307 votes 8.6%. 2 Green MEPs re-elected
    2010 Caroline Lucas elected to UK Parliament. MEP seat passed to Keith Taylor as No.2 on 2009 list.
  • Euro 2014 - Greens 1,244,975 votes 7.9%. 3 Green MEPs elected (Jean Lambert, Keith Taylor and Molly Scott Cato)

The 1979 Euro Election on 7th June came only a month after the General Election when the Ecology Party had fielded 53 candidates. In the event only Teddy Goldsmith (Cornwall & Plymouth 3.0%), Michael Benfield (Midlands Central 3.9%) and The Hon.J.Porritt (London Central 4.1%) stood as Ecology Party candidates for the first UK Euro Election. Although with only 18,000 votes the national share was too small to record, the 3 candidates averaged 3.7% vote share across their constituencies.

By 1984 the Ecology Party was able to field 16 candidates including one each in Wales and Scotland. Jean Lambert, who was elected a Green MEP for London in 1999 stood for the first time in London NE and gained 3.7%. Best result was in Hereford & Worcester with 4.7% share and the average share across constituencies where Ecology Party candidates stood was 2.8%

For 1989 the Green Party established itself as the third party in British politics gaining a 15% share of the popular vote and trouncing the Social & Liberal Democrats with more than twice their votes. Despite this under FPTP The Greens gained no MEPs with Labour taking 45, the Conservatives 32 and SNP 1 seat.

The evidently "unfair" result contributed to the change to a form of proportional representation (PR) from 1999, but this was not introduced in time for the 1994 election when disillusionment in the electorate coupled with other parties taking on Environmental (if not Ecological) policies - or at least a light green-wash saw a collapse in the Green vote. The Liberal Democrats with about the same number of total votes as the Greensin '89 managed to gain two seats by having a concentrated power base in the South West rather than support distributed across the country.

The introduction of PR saw the Greens immediately gain two seats (in London & the South East) with less than one third of the popular vote share that the reached in 1989. The South West region just missed on on wining a Green MEP in 1999, 2004 and again in 2009 when the number of seats in the region was reduced from 7 to 6.The third Green MEP was finally won in 2010 with the Eastern Region just missing out on winning.

Even in 2014 to total Green vote was only around half of the 1989 level.

It now seems unlikely that there will be further elections to the EU parliament from the UK.

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