Wales Green Party

Wales Green Party
Plaid Werdd Cymru
LeaderAnthony Slaughter
Deputy LeaderHelen Westhead
Founded1991; 33 years ago (1991)
(Semi-autonomous)
Preceded byGreen Party (UK)
HeadquartersThe Gate
Keppoch Street
Cardiff
CF24 5TR
Youth wingWales Young Greens
LGBT wingWelsh Green Pride
Membership (2023)Increase 1,800+
Ideology
Political positionLeft-wing
European affiliationEuropean Green Party
International affiliationGlobal Greens
UK Parliament affiliationGreen Party of England and Wales
(Semi-autonomous)
Cooperate with (but are independent from) the Scottish Greens and Green Party Northern Ireland
Colours Green
House of Commons
(Welsh seats)
0 / 40
Senedd
0 / 60
Local government
8 / 1,234
Website
wales.greenparty.org.uk

The Wales Green Party (Welsh: Plaid Werdd Cymru) is a semi-autonomous political party within the Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW). It covers Wales, and is the only regional party with semi-autonomous status within the GPEW. The Wales Green Party puts up candidates for council, Senedd, and UK Parliament seats.

Organisation, leadership and representation

The Wales Green Party elects a Spokesperson and two Deputy Spokespeople every 2 years, as well as electing council members on an annual basis to make day to day decisions between AGMs. All elected roles in the Wales Green Party are voluntary.

The current Leader of the Wales Green Party is Anthony Slaughter, with Helen Westhead and Amerjit Kaur-Dhaliwal as Co-Deputy Leaders. Wales-wide decisions are taken by the Wales Green Party Council which is composed of the spokespeople, elected officers, and a representative from each local party.

Party Leader
Portrait Name First elected
Anthony Slaughter December 2018
(re-elected in December 2021)
Deputy Leader
Name First elected
Helen Westhead December 2021

As of 2023, the Wales Green Party is represented internally within the GPEW by Adam Turner and John Matthews, on the Green Party Regional Council (GPRC).

The Wales Green Party's Amelia Womack served as the Deputy Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales from September 2014 to September 2022.

In April 2023, one of the Wales Green Party's Co-Deputy Leaders, Amerjit Kaur-Dhaliwal, stepped down from their role, saying that "volunteering at this time has become a luxury I can no longer afford, given the cost-of-living crises."

GPEW Deputy Leader
Portrait Name From To
Amelia Womack September 2014 September 2022

Leadership history

Pippa Bartolotti became Wales Green party leader in January 2012. She stood (unsuccessfully) for the leadership of the GPEW later that year. After four years of leadership, Bartolotti decided against standing for a further term as leader in the 2015 Leadership election which was won by Alice Hooker-Stroud, while Hannah Pudner became deputy leader. Alice was then re-elected in 2016 along with Grenville Ham and a returning Pippa Bartolotti as deputy leaders. Alice resigned in 2017 stating that her position had become "untenable" due to the voluntary nature of the role. Alice was succeeded in early 2017 by Grenville Ham. Grenville defected to Plaid Cymru in late 2018 citing the party's vote to remain a part of the Green Party of England and Wales rather than to become an independent party (as the Scottish Greens had previously done) as his reason. Like Alice, Grenville described his position as "untenable". Mirka Virtanen was elected deputy leader in 2016 to begin in 2017, replacing Pippa Bartolotti, and Benjamin Smith was co-opted to the vacant deputy leader role in July 2017.

Anthony Slaughter (former deputy leader) was named the current leader of the Wales Green Party in December 2018, beating Mirka Virtanen (deputy leader at the time) and Alex Harris in the leadership election. Duncan Rees was elected deputy leader. Mirka was co-opted back into the deputy leader role until December 2019. Lauren James was selected to replace her in April 2020.

Leadership history
No. Portrait Leader From To
1 Martyn Shrewsbury 2004 2006
2 Ann Were Jan 2006 Dec 2007
3 Leila Kiersch Dec 2007 2009
4 Jake Griffiths 2009 2011
5 Pippa Bartolotti Dec 2011 Dec 2015
6 Alice Hooker-Stroud Dec 2015 March 2017
7 Grenville Ham March 2017 July 2018
8 Anthony Slaughter Dec 2018 Incumbent

Green Isles Alliance

The Wales Greens are represented on a Green Isles Alliance which includes Green parties from England and Wales (Plaid Werdd), Scotland, Ireland (Comhaontas Glas), Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man (Partee Glass Vannin). The alliance acts as a forum for the parties to advance shared political goals.

Membership

In July 2018, the Wales Green Party had around 1,500 members. In April 2023, the Wales Green Party was reported to have over 1,800 members. By the end of 2019, the Green Party in England and Wales had a combined 49,013 members (up from 38,707 in 2018).

History

Pre-1990

The Green Parties in the United Kingdom have their roots in the PEOPLE Party which was founded in 1972, which became the Ecology Party in 1975, and then the Green Party in 1985.

In 1973, three Welsh Green candidates (P. Jones, W. Jones and V. Carney) won seats in the inaugural Welsh district council elections in the Gadlys and Town wards on Cynon Valley Borough Council. The party narrowly missed out on a fourth seat to the Labour Party.[dubious ]

Early years (1990s)

In 1990, the Scottish and Northern Irish branches left the UK Greens to form separate parties. The English and Welsh parties became the Green Party of England and Wales, with the Welsh branch being semi-autonomous.

In 1991, Marcus Hughes and Brian Stringer were elected to represent the Bynea and Dafen wards on Llanelli Borough Council In 1995, both then stood unsuccessfully as 'Independent Green' candidates, losing their seats to Labour on the new Carmarthenshire County Council. In 1993, the Party won a county council seat on Anglesey (Ynys Môn) after a sitting councillor in the Aethwy ward had joined the Greens, but the Party did not defend this seat or stand any other candidates at the 1995 Isle of Anglesey County Council election two years later.

At the 1992 general election, local Greens entered an electoral alliance with Plaid Cymru in the constituency of Ceredigion and Pembroke North. The alliance was successful with Cynog Dafis being returned in a surprise result as the MP, defeating the Liberal Democrat incumbent by over 3,000 votes. The agreement broke down by 1995 following disagreement within the Welsh Green Party over endorsing another party's candidate, though Dafis would go on to serve in parliament as a Plaid Cymru member until 2000, and in the National Assembly for Wales from 1999 until 2003. Dafis later stated that he did not consider himself to be the "first Green MP".

On 29 August 1997, the Wales Green Party issued a joint declaration with the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru, supporting the 'Yes for Wales' campaign and the establishment of a new National Assembly for Wales in the 1997 Welsh devolution referendum.

Devolution (1999–present)

In the 1999 Welsh local elections, Klaus Armstrong-Braun became the first Green Party councillor to be elected to one of Wales' twenty two unitary councils, winning a seat on Flintshire County Council. In 2006, the party elected Ann Were as party leader, the first female leader of a Welsh political party.

In 2010, the party became the only Green party within the United Kingdom to have not elected a Green candidate to a UK or devolved legislature, after Caroline Lucas was elected to the UK Parliament. In 2011, the Green Party campaigned in support of a yes vote in the 2011 Welsh devolution referendum. In 2013, the Wales Green Party archive at the National Library was damaged in a fire with some historical material either destroyed or permanently damaged.

In 2015, the Party agreed to support as many powers for Wales as possible, 'up to and including independence'. In the 2017 Welsh local elections, the Wales Green Party had their first county councillor elected to Powys County Council, for the Llangors ward.

In July 2018 the party held a vote on whether to split from the GPEW to form a separate organisation. Of those members who voted, 65% voted against the proposal, despite the leader Grenville Ham campaigning for independence. In October 2020, party members voted that they would campaign to support Welsh independence if a referendum was called on the matter, with party leader Anthony Slaughter arguing that many green policies could not be implemented in Wales without further devolved powers or independence.

In September 2021, Matt Townsend called for the party to become independent from its Westminster counterpart, despite members voting against it three years earlier. Writing in Bright Green, Townsend pointed out that the Scottish and Northern Irish Green parties were both independent from the GPEW. "This has left Wales as one of very few nations around the world to not have its own Green Party," he said. Townsend also noted that whilst the Scottish Greens had now entered government with the SNP, the Wales Green Party failed to win any seats at the 2021 Senedd election. Slaughter told Nation.Cymru in August 2023 that, with the expansion of the Senedd in 2026, he expected Green MSs to be elected for the first time.

Policies

While associated mainly with environmentalist policies, the party has a history of support for communitarian economic policies, including well-funded, locally controlled public services within the confines of a steady-state economy, is supportive of proportional representation voting systems and takes a progressive approach to social policies, including supporting a universal basic income and transitioning to a four day working week. It also supports the devolution of further powers to Wales as part of a long term vision which advocates Welsh independence. In October 2020, the party announced that it would campaign for Welsh independence should a referendum be held.

The party is strongly opposed to nuclear power and radioactive waste, with an emphasis instead on expanding localised renewable energy projects. Other policies within Policies for a Sustainable Society in Wales include phasing out waste incineration, improving public transport and supporting new safestanding areas in Welsh sports stadiums. Also included within the party’s policies is the commitment to "bring the rail system, including track and operators, back into public ownership".

The Green Party support ending the role of the monarchy as an office of government and giving members of the royal family the same civil rights and tax obligations as other citizens.

The party supports universal free school meals, both during school term time and during school holidays.

Wales Young Greens

Wales Young Greens is the youth and student 'local group' of the Young Greens of England and Wales.

The current co chairs of the Young Greens of England and Wales are Kelsey Trevett and Jane baston.

Welsh Green Pride

Welsh Green Pride is the LGBTIQA+ Liberation group within the Wales Green Party which runs alongside but separate to the GPEW group LGBTIQA+ Greens. Its current Spokesperson is Ash Jones, and it has two deputy spokespeople Mike Whittall and Michael Cope. The group started a UK wide review of the discriminatory blood ban 'which excludes any LGBTIQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex & Queer) people who have had sexual relations in the past 12 months from donating blood'.

Electoral performance

Local elections

Year Votes Share of votes Seats won Seats contested Additional Information
1991 10,804 1.2%
2 / 1,364
31 Two councillors elected to Llanelli Borough Council (Bynea and Dafen wards). Last election to thirty seven district councils before 22 new unitary councils established.
1993 4,078 0.6%
1 / 502
31 Councillor elected to Gwynedd County Council (Aethwy ward, Anglesey), with a new high of three cllrs across Wales. Last election to eight county councils before 22 new unitary councils established.
1995 10,161 1.1%
0 / 1,272
57 First elections to 22 new councils under Local Government (Wales) Act 1994. No Greens elected.
1999 8,328 0.8%
1 / 1,270
31 First seat elected to Flintshire County Council (Saltney Stonebridge ward).
2004 10,799 1.2%
0 / 1,263
65
2008 6,568 0.7%
0 / 1,270
37
2012 10,310 1.2%
0 / 1,235
68 Results include 21 out of 22 councils. No Green candidates stood for the 30 seats in the delayed 2013 Isle of Anglesey County Council election.
2017 12,441 1.3%
1 / 1,271
79 First seat won on Powys County Council (Llangors ward).
2022 22,193 2.3%
8 / 1,231
117 The party's highest number of votes, candidates and seats in a Welsh local election. First councillors elected to six councils - Denbighshire, Monmouthshire, Neath Port Talbot, Swansea, Newport and Conwy.
A Figures do not include community or town councils.

Senedd

Year Constituency Votes Share of votes Seats contested Regional Votes Share of votes Seats won Position Outcome Additional Information
1999 1,002 0.1% 1/40 25,858 3.6%
0 / 60
5th No seats First election to the Senedd, initially known as the National Assembly for Wales. Only Green candidate was in the Ceredigion constituency.
2003 N/A N/A N/A 30,028 3.5%
0 / 60
5th No seats
2007 N/A N/A N/A 33,803 3.5%
0 / 60
7th No seats
2011 1,514 0.2% 1/40 32,649 3.4%
0 / 60
6th No seats Only Green candidate was in the Ceredigion constituency.
2016 25,202 2.5% 36/40 30,211 3.0%
0 / 60
7th No seats The party's highest number of constituency votes in a Welsh general election.
2021 17,817 1.6% 13/40 48,714 4.4%
0 / 60
5th No seats The Greens received more regional votes than the Liberal Democrats, but finished one place lower in fifth position after that party won a Mid and West Wales regional list seat.

UK Parliament

Year Votes Share of votes Seats won Seats contested Additional Information
1992 5,273
0 / 38
11 Seats contested exclude joint Plaid Cymru - Green candidates. Three joint candidates are referenced on the UK Parliament website, whilst five (Ceredigion and Pembroke North, Islwyn, Monmouth, Newport West & Torfaen) are recorded on wikipedia. Cynog Dafis was elected in the Ceredigion and Pembroke North constituency.
1997 1,718 0.1%
0 / 40
4
2001 3,753 0.3%
0 / 40
6
2005 7,144 0.5%
0 / 40
11
2010 6,293 0.4%
0 / 40
13
2015 38,344 2.6%
0 / 40
35

The party retained deposits for the first time. In Ceredigion, Cardiff Central and most notably Swansea West with 4.0% swing.

2017 5,128 0.3%
0 / 40
11
2019 15,828 1.0%
0 / 40
18 The Vale of Glamorgan seat was contested as part of the Remain Alliance.

Police and Crime Commissioners

The party did not field candidates in the 2012, 2016 or 2021 police and crime commissioner elections in Wales.

European Parliament (1994–2019)

Year Votes Share of votes Seats won Additional Information
1994 19,413 2.0%
0 / 5
First election contested by the Green Party of England and Wales. Result reversed gains from the 1989 election (11.1% and 99,546 votes).
1999 16,146 2.6%
0 / 5
2004 32,761 3.6%
0 / 4
2009 38,160 5.6%
0 / 4
2014 33,275 4.5%
0 / 4
2019 52,660 6.3%
0 / 4
Last election before Wales left the European Union.

Election campaigns

Local elections

2022

The 2021 Welsh local elections were postponed until 2022 to avoid a clash with the 2021 Senedd election, with the future electoral cycle also changed from four to five years by the Welsh Government. The Wales Green Party formed an electoral pact with Plaid Cymru to fight seats in Cardiff.

The party won eight seats in the election, exceeding a previous high of three seats held in the early 1990s (prior to the two tier system of county and district councils being abolished and replaced by twenty two new unitary councils in 1995). A further two were elected via an alliance with Plaid Cymru in Cardiff.

Senedd

2021

The Green Party stood a full set of regional list candidates as well as thirteen constituency candidates in the 2021 Senedd election.

Some of the party's key policies for the 2021 Senedd election include: ending fees for people's first university degree, targeting Wales to be carbon net zero by 2030 by replacing fossil fuels with onshore and offshore renewable energy, and introducing free public transport for local journeys for people in Wales aged under 21. The party also said it would build 12,000 homes to the highest environmental standards and would start a transformation fund to invest in local communities and create thousands of green jobs.

During the campaign it was initially announced the party would be excluded from taking part in the BBC One Wales leaders debate scheduled for 29 April 2021. However, BBC Wales later announced that a revised format would allow the party to participate in the second half of the TV debate.

Regional list

Region Number
of votes
Proportion
of votes
Change Candidates
Mid and West Wales 10,545 4.4% Increase 0.6% Emily Durrant, Tomos Barlow, Harry Hayfield, Marc Pearton-Scale
North Wales 6,586 2.9% Increase 0.6% Iolo Jones, Duncan Rees, Adam Turner, Linda Rogers
South Wales Central 14,478 5.7% Increase 2.3% Anthony Slaughter, Helen Westhead, David Griffin, Debra Cooper
South Wales East 9,950 4.8% Increase 2.3% Amelia Womack, Ian Chandler, Lauren James, Stephen Priestnall
South Wales West 7,155 3.9% Increase 1.3% Megan Poppy Lloyd, Chris Evans, Alex Harris, Tom Muller

Constituencies

2016

In September 2015, Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader of GPEW, announced her intention to stand in the National Assembly elections for Wales Green Party. An ITV article titled "Green deputy leader wants to switch to Welsh politics" wrote of Newport-born Womack's intention to stand in the Welsh elections saying; "She's seeking the nomination for the Cardiff Central constituency and – more significantly – hoping to be top of the Wales Green Party's regional list for South Wales Central." Notably the article went on to say "Opinion polls have occasionally suggested that the Greens could gain a list seat in the Senedd".

10 February 2016 Welsh Greens abandoned progressive alliance negotiations a few months before the Senedd elections. The manifesto included plans to scrap the M4 relief road, build 12,000 new homes a year and provide free childcare to every child in Wales.

Regional list

Region Number
of votes
Proportion
of votes
Change Candidates
Mid and West Wales 8,222 3.8% Decrease 0.3% Alice Hooker Stroud, Grenville Ham, Pippa Pemberton, Frances Bryant, Brian Dafydd Williams
North Wales 4,789 2.3% Steady Duncan Rees, Martin Bennewith, Petra Haig, Gerry Wolff
South Wales Central 7,949 3.4% Decrease 1.8% Amelia Womack, Anthony Slaughter, Hannah Pudner, Chris von Ruhland
South Wales East 4,831 2.5% Decrease 0.2% Pippa Bartolotti, Ann Were, Chris Were, Katy Beddoe, Andrew Creak
South Wales West 4,420 2.6% Steady Lisa Rapado, Charlotte Barlow, Laurence Brophy, Mike Whittall, Russell Kennedy, Thomas Muller

Constituencies

A DNS = Did not stand.

2011

The Wales Green Party again fielded candidates in all 5 top-up regions for the 2011 election. For the first time since 1999, the Greens also stood in a constituency - they once again opted to stand in Ceredigion.

During the 2011 campaign, they specifically targeted Labour voters with the aim of persuading them to use their regional list vote for the Greens, using the slogan "2nd vote Green". They claimed that Labour list votes were "wasted" and that over 70,000 votes in South Wales Central went "in the bin at every election" as Labour had never won a top-up seat in that region.

On this occasion, South Wales Central was the region the party targeted. The region includes Cardiff, with its large student population, and also the constituency of Cardiff Central, the only Liberal Democrat-Labour marginal seat in Wales. Welsh Green leader and South Wales Central candidate Jake Griffiths stated they were also aiming to attract disaffected Liberal Democrat voters in the region.

The Greens polled 32,649 votes, 3.4% of the total votes cast for the regional lists. In South Wales Central, they took over 10,000 votes, 5.2% of the total, though they were still almost 6,000 votes away from winning a seat. The regional results were as follows:

Region Number of Votes Proportion of Votes Change Candidates
Mid and West Wales 8,660 4.1% Increase 0.1% Leila Kiersch, Marilyn Elson
North Wales 4,406 2.3% Decrease 0.6% Dorienne Robinson, Timothy Foster, Peter Haig
South Wales Central 10,774 5.2% Increase 1.4% Jake Griffiths, Sam Coates, John Matthews, Matt Townsend, Teleri Clark
South Wales East 4,857 2.7% Decrease 0.2% Chris Were, Pippa Bartolotti, Owen Clarke, Alyson Ayland, Alan Williams
South Wales West 3,952 2.6% Decrease 1.2% Keith Ross, Huw Evans, Andy Chyba, Delyth Miller

In Ceredigion, Chris Simpson polled 1,514 votes, or 5.2%. He came fifth out of five candidates.

2007

In 2007, the party again fielded a list of candidates in each of the top-up regions but no candidates for the constituencies. The Wales Green Party proposed that Wales should "be at the forefront of....a green industrial revolution". The party targeted South Wales West - the region where they had performed best in 2003.

The Welsh Greens polled 33,803 votes, or 3.5% of the total, a slight decrease on 2003. The party failed to win any seats, with their best performance this time being Mid and West Wales with 4.0% of the vote. In South Wales West their vote declined by one percentage point, their worst result of the five regions.

Region Number of Votes Proportion of Votes Change Candidates
Mid and West Wales 8,768 4.0% Decrease 0.1% Leila Kiersch, Moth Foster, Marilyn Elson, John Jennings
North Wales 5,660 2.9% Increase 0.4% Jim Killock, Joe Blakesley, Maredudd ap Rheinallt, Wilf Hastings
South Wales Central 7,831 3.8% Increase 0.4% John Matthews, Richard Payne, David Pierce, Nigel Baker
South Wales East 5,414 2.8% Decrease 0.3% Ann Were, Alasdair McGowen, Gerry Layton, Owen Clarke
South Wales West 6,130 3.8% Decrease 1.0% Rhodri Griffiths, Brig Oubridge, Jane Richmond, Jonathan Spink

2003

In the 2003 election, the party again fielded a list of candidates for each of the electoral regions but this time stood no candidates for the constituencies. The Welsh Greens failed to win any seats, polling 30,028 votes, or 3.5%. Their best performance was in South Wales West where they polled 6,696 votes, or 4.8% of the total.

Region Number of Votes Proportion of Votes Change Candidates
Mid and West Wales 7,794 4.2% Increase 0.7% Dorienne Robinson, Molly Scott Cato, Timothy Foster, Reg Taylor, Christopher Cato
North Wales 4,200 2.4% Increase 0.2% Klaus Armstrong-Brown, John Walker, Jeremy Hart, Wilfred Hastings, Gilly Boyd, Jim Killock
South Wales Central 6,047 3.3% Increase 0.9% John Matthews, Lynn Farr, Jan Tucker, Sylvia Latham, Paul Beswick
South Wales East 5,291 3.1% Increase 1.1% Peter Varley, Ann Were, Owen Clarke, Ernie Hamer, Gealdine Layton, Teresa Telfer, Matthew Wooton
South Wales West 6,696 4.8% Increase 2.4% Martin Shrewsbury, Jan Cliff, Rhodri Griffiths, Steve Clegg, Deborah James, Tony Young

1999

In the 1999 inaugural election for the National Assembly, the Welsh Greens stood candidates in all five electoral regions used to elect "top-up" members of the assembly. Additionally, one candidate stood for the constituency seat of Ceredigion. The party stated that they aimed to poll around 7% of the vote and win at least one top-up seat.

The Welsh Greens ultimately polled 25,858 votes in the regional lists, 2.5% of the total, and 1,002 constituency votes (3.1%) in Ceredigion. No Welsh Greens were elected.

Region Number of Votes Proportion of Votes Candidates
Mid and West Wales 7,718 3.5% Dave Bradney, Sarah Scott-Cato, Sue Walker, Timothy Shaw, Timothy Foster
North Wales 4,667 2.2% Jim Killock, Christopher Busby, Robin Welch, Klaus Armstrong-Brown, Angela Loveridge, Alexandra Plows, Kathryn Turner, Gwilym Morus, Sarah Collick
South Wales Central 5,336 2.5% Kevin Jakeway, John Matthews, Vivien Turner, Chris Von Ruhland
South Wales East 4,055 2.0% Roger Coghill, Kevin Williams, Steve Ainley, Elaine Ross, Owen Clarke
South Wales West 4,082 2.4% Graham Oubridge, Lee Turner, Janet Evans, Simon Phillips

UK Parliament

2019

The Wales Green Party entered an electoral pact in eleven Welsh seats with Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Liberal Democrats, as part of the Remain Alliance. As a result of this agreement, the party did not contest ten Welsh seats and instead supported pro-European Plaid Cymru or Liberal Democrat candidates. In the Vale of Glamorgan constituency, Anthony Slaughter stood for the Green Party as the Remain Alliance candidate but was not elected. The 2019 manifesto was titled If not now, when? and included various commitments, including taxing frequent flyers, creating more energy-efficient homes, decommissioning North Sea oil rigs and phasing out the UK’s coal industry.

2017

2015

The Wales Green Party fielded their highest number of UK general election candidates and achieved their best UK election result in Wales.


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