Green Party see poll rise as TV debate continues

Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Part
Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Part
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Green Party leader Natalie Bennett is hoping for a “political earthquake” at the General Election as new polling suggests small parties are eating into the boig three’s vote share.

Ms Bennett said the public are moving away from “business-as-usual politics” and that it was vital for her party to be included in any TV debates to provide balance.

The party leader was speaking at the launch of a poster campaign aimed at the leaders of the main parties, entitled “What are you afraid of, boys?”, to challenge broadcasters to include the Greens in any televised debates between party leaders.

Her campaign is riding on the coat tails of a surge in popularity for the Greens. The latest Lord Ashcroft opinion poll has placed both the Conservatives and Labour under 30% for the first time in a further indication of the influence smaller parties could have on the outcome of May’s general election.

The Tory peer’s survey put David Cameron’s party on 29%, down five points from last week, but still one point ahead of Labour which was unchanged on 28%.

It is the lowest combined share of the vote recorded by the two main parties in Lord Ashcroft’s polls and the first time that both have fallen below the 30% mark.

The main beneficiaries appear to be the Green Party, up three points to 11%, with Ukip down one point at 15%, the Liberal Democrats up one at 9% and the SNP also gaining a point at 5%.

Lord Ashcroft said: “One factor could be that the Greens have benefited from their prominence in the arguments over TV debates - in which case it will be interesting to see in the coming weeks whether they can sustain their share.”