Martin Whybrow will once more take a voice for the environment and local communities to Kent County Council, having been elected to the Hythe West division. It was the only division of the six in Shepway that did not end up with the Tories and, indeed, across the district, the Green Party moved into second place, above all other opposition parties, in terms of the percentage of the vote.
Martin says: “In some ways, this was an even bigger achievement than when I was elected as the first ever Green Party member of KCC four years ago. This time around, we did not have the element of surprise and we also had to contend with boundary changes, which cut our traditional supporter base in Hythe in half. Added to this, we had a major swing across the county and across the whole country to the Tories, with many UKIP voters heading this way.”
There were also strong performances from the Green Party’s other candidates, despite a major focus of resources on Hythe West. It was a huge team effort, with may people putting in a great deal of time and effort. As well as local members and supporters, the party had support from people from other Kent Green Party branches and also visits from co-leader, Jonathan Bartley, and deputy leader, Amelia Womack. The Hythe West division includes Dymchurch and Lympne, where a great deal of canvassing and other work was done to communicate our key messages around protecting open spaces and front-line services.
Hythe West was a clear two-horse race between Martin and Tory town and district councillor, David Owen. Martin secured 41 per cent of the vote, 2234 votes, on a healthy turn out of 42 per cent, a majority of almost 200. UKIP was a distant third with 9 per cent, followed by Labour and the LibDems (6 and 5 per cent, respectively). Again, across the district, the Green Party’s total number of votes increased from 2216 in 2013 to 4246.
Attention now turns to the general election, where Martin has been selected as the Green Party candidate for Folkestone & Hythe. Once more, our campaign will be hugely reliant on volunteers, so we’d be delighted to hear from anyone who is able to help in any way, including displaying boards and posters or leafleting.