THE Green Party’s sole MP and former leader Caroline Lucas visited Abingdon yesterday to lend her support to a candidate standing in an upcoming local election.

A former Oxfordshire County councillor herself, Ms Lucas visited Green Party candidates standing in Vale of White Horse District Council elections in May.

She gave her support to Cheryl Briggs, who will stand for the Greens in the Abingdon Abbey Northcourt ward on May 2.

The pair met at a packed gathering of party supporters at the Brewery Tap in Ock Street.

The party is expected to field more candidates for elections in Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire districts. Both the councils are largely composed of Conservative councillors, suggesting Green candidates may be fighting an uphill battle.

Of Vale of White Horse District Council’s 38 councillors, 29 elected members are Conservative and nine are Liberal Democrats. In South Oxfordshire, Labour have one seat, the Lib Dems two, Henley Residents’ Group another and the Conservatives the lion's share. The party did have 32 seats, but six councillors were suspended on Thursday (see page 6).

Ms Lucas was elected as the Green Party’s second county councillor in 1993 and served as a member of Oxfordshire County Council until 1997. She was also elected principal speaker each year from 2003 until 2005, and then again in 2007.

Ms Lucas was elected party leader in 2008 until 2012. She was its co-leader with Jonathan Bartley from 2016 to 2018. The Green Party’s current co-leaders are Mr Bartley and Sian Berry.

Ms Lucas also visited Oxfordshire ahead of May 2018’s local elections when she backed Green candidate David Thomas in Oxford City Council elections, but he lost out to Labour’s Tom Hayes in St Clement’s ward.

She also backed Green Ian Middleton, who stood in Kidlington.