Green, independent and Workers Party candidates are now Labour’s main challenger in 57 constituencies – a time bomb ticking beneath the new government’s majority.

10 JULY 2024 –

05/07/2024. London, United Kingdom. The Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria arrive at Number 10 Downing Street upon his appointment. Picture by Kirsty O'Connor/ No 10 Downing Street

Keir Starmer’s first speech outside 10 Downing Street. (Photo: Kirsty O’Connor / Handout)

The election of July 4 was a watershed moment.

For the first time significant space opened up on the two flanks of British politics.

Reform may only have won five seats, but they garnered 14.3% of the vote, prompting some to speculate we may be just a couple of elections away from the kind of results already seen in Italy and the first round of France’s parliamentary elections.

The principal beneficiary in terms of seats, though, was the left. The Greens won four while Left-wing independents – including Jeremy Corbyn – took five. Between them and George Galloway’s Workers Party their share of the vote hit almost 10%.

In Bristol Central the Labour Party threw the kitchen sink at the contest – and they were right to. They still got thumped, with shadow culture secretary Thangam Debonnaire winning just 33% of the vote, to 53% for the Greens.

If Bristol Central can go Green, why not Bristol East, where the Greens got 31%, Bristol North East, where the Greens got 19%, Bristol North West, where they got 17% and Bristol South, 25%. And if Bristol can go Green, why not other cities?

Analysis shows that in 2019 the Greens were second in just three constituencies. This has leapt to 40. In every single one of these seats – 18 of which are in London – it is Labour they are second to.

Independents or Workers Party candidates are now second to Labour in 17 constituencies, concentrated in areas with high Muslim populations in East London, Birmingham and Lancashire. 

In a number of these Labour only held on because the opposition vote split between the Greens and various independents.

That’s 57 constituencies where voters now know that a vote for the Greens or an independent is no longer an empty gesture but can have real impact.

In almost all of these seats the Conservative Party is irrelevant.