GREEN voters have elected their first south west MEP in Stroud’s Molly Scott Cato.
Her victory came at the expense of long-standing Liberal Democrat Sir Graham Watson who lost his seat in the European Parliament.
Olympic gold medal winning rower James Cracknell also failed to pick up a seat for the Conservatives, who saw their number of places reduces from three to two – Ashley Fox and Julie Girling were re-elected.
Labour’s Clare Moody took a seat for Labour, who had won no seats at the previous election.
Dr Cato, who picked up 11.2 per cent for the Green Party, said: ““I knew it would be very close and possible for the Greens to win. With the electoral system it wasn’t certain and it was quite a tense evening.
“It is fantastic that the south west now has a Green voice in Europe.”
Dr Cato, who is leader of the Green Party on Stroud District Council as well as an avid beekeeper, added: “The Greens are the only party with a clear and positive message on EU reform, which I think was attractive to voters and translated into the result we see today. Our ‘people before profit’ policies have really resonated with voters who have been looking for a viable alternative party which truly represents their values.”
Sir Graham, who had been a Lib Dem MEP for 20 years, said: “It has been an honour and a pleasure to serve the south west of England and Gibraltar in the European Parliament. I shall miss it but I wish my successors well.
“Politics is the kind of profession that you live with winning and you live with losing and I have no doubt the Liberal Democrats will be back.
“Naturally I am disappointed but not terribly surprised. The Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives have taken a beating.”
UKIP topped the poll in 24 of the 38 districts of the south west.
William Dartmouth, elected for the party along with Julia Reid, said: “This is a massive wake-up call to the establishment politicians and media – there are a lot of people dissatisfied and feel their concerns are not properly responded to.”
HOW YOU VOTED
LIB DEM 2,329
FOREST OF DEAN
LIB DEM 1,238
LIB DEM 2,488
CON – Ashley Fox
CON – Julie Girling
GREEN – Molly Scott Cato
LAB – Clare Moody
UKIP – William Dartmouth
UKIP – Julia Reid
Lib Dem -1