The Green Party won its first seat in the House of Commons as leader Caroline Lucas took Brighton Pavilion on England’s south coast from Gordon Brown’s Labour Party.
Lucas, a member of the European Parliament since 1999, won 31.3 percent of the vote, compared with 28.9 percent for Labour’s Nancy Platts and 23.7 percent for Charlotte Vere of the Conservatives. The Green Party, which came third at the 2005 election, overturned a 12-point Labour majority.
“Thank you so much for putting the politics of hope above the politics of fear,” Lucas said after the results were announced.
Britain’s first-past-the-post electoral prevented the Green Party from gaining any seats in previous domestic elections. The party won 1.1 percent of the national vote in 2005 and 8.7 percent in June’s European elections, which use proportional representation.
The party, which was founded as “People” in 1973 and became the Green Party in 1985 to link it to similar movements in Europe, advocated increased taxes for the rich, tighter financial regulation and protection of public services in its manifesto, which described it as “the party of hope and radical change.”