Despite a significant increase in Green Party vote share from around 5.5% in 2004 to around 9% tonight, the Greens have just failed to win a seat in the East of England.
Green support rose right across the UK with the 2 existing Green MEPs Dr. Caroline Lucas (South East) and Jean Lambert (London) each being elected for the third time, and with significantly increased vote share.
Over 140,000 voters backed the Greens in the East of England, following a campaign that the Eastern Region Green Party began 2 years ago.
Support peaked strongly in the emerging Green strongholds with the Greens in Norwich coming first with about 25% of the vote, a result which was on the cards following the Greens coming first across the city in the County Council elections on Thursday.
The Green campaign covered every part of the region and was particularly focussed on meeting people and finding out what they wanted to see from their MEPs. Green policies including Clean Politics and Green Jobs - with the aim of helping to make the East a European leader in renewable energy.
As well as conventional campaigning such as tours of every county and public meetings, the Greens used Obama-style new media campaigning to get the Green message across via the internet. The campaign was backed by a large team which included the 7 list candidates, dedicated campaign specialists and the growing band of Green councillors in the region. True to their grass-roots strength, local party members played their part, and indeed were the sole arbiters of who would be on the Green list, as the party uses a strictly one member-one vote system to decide its European election candidates.
We are very pleased with the big increase in the Green vote and we would like to thank the more than 140,000 people in the East of England who supported us. It wasn't quite enough this time but it bodes well for our party across the region and especially in our developing strongholds. We now need to look forward to the next election, which could well be the Norwich North by-election, a city in which we topped the poll tonight.
At the County Council elections, right across the region, Green candidates were often beating the party of Government - and Labour finished only just ahead of the Greens in the Euro poll. Whilst Labour lost most of its County Councillors in the East, the Greens increased theirs from 3 to 11.