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Green Party co-leader joins Painswick & Upton by-election win celebration

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By Sue Fenton

The Green Party co-leader, Carla Denyer, today came to Stroud to celebrate the party winning yesterday’s by-election in the Painswick & Upton ward.

Green candidate Gary Luff received 1,168 votes (45% of the total), beating the Conservative candidate (who got 817 votes) and becoming the first non-Tory to represent Painswick & Upton since the ward was established in 2016. (Prior to that, Painswick ward had been held by the Conservatives since 1974.) The Lib Dem and Labour candidates came 3rd and 4th, with 381 and 180 votes. 

Gary’s election takes the total number of Greens on Stroud District Council to 14.

Carla congratulated Gary for his success, saying: “This shows that residents want politicians who are caring as well as competent, and they decided Greens are the best choice for that. Green politics is a better type of politics: collaborative and compassionate. This is more great news, following on from the Green Party’s success elsewhere in the May 4 elections; we now have a record 739 councillors across England.”

While in Stroud District, Carla also met volunteers, activists and Young Greens, and thanked them for their hard work in getting Gary elected. His election adds one more Green seat to the Green-led cooperative alliance that runs Stroud District council – made up of Green, Independent Left, Community Independent, and Liberal Democrat parties. “The win in Painswick is a vote of confidence in the Alliance administration on SDC that is led by the Greens,” added Carla.

She predicted more successes in next year’s local elections, when the Greens will be defending their current 14 seats on Stroud District Council and targeting further gains to cement their role as the leading party on the Council.

In the 2021 local elections, the Greens came a close second in the Painswick & Upton ward, only 151 votes behind the Conservatives, whose share of the vote had been declining for several years.

Gary said: “I’m so thrilled. The result shows that the residents of Painswick & Upton really wanted a change after many years of only Conservatives representing them on the council. I will be getting straight to work, and attending the Council Annual General Meeting at Ebley Mill this evening.” 

Cllr Catherine Braun, leader of the Green Group and leader of the council, said: “The result proved our prediction that many traditional Conservative voters have decided to change their votes this time, being appalled by the chaos in national government over recent years and the cost-of-living crisis, which is hurting so many households. They see the Greens as offering the most attractive alternative: hardworking local councillors, with strong financial management and future focused investment in local communities, affordable housing and environmental protection.”

Gary, 49, lives in Painswick village with his wife and two teenage daughters. He is a retired insurance company senior executive who now runs a community interest company called Sustainably Enough, which gives free advice to help people manage their money while reducing their environmental impact.

Gary’s priorities as a councillor include protecting the countryside, addressing climate change and helping residents with the cost-of-living crisis.

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