THE GREEN party won its first ever seat on Southend Council in a historic night for the party signalling a new era of “environmentally focussed politics”.

Richard Longstaff won the Leigh seat left vacant by Lib Dem Ashley Thompson securing 1,042 votes, well above second place Lib Dem Syrie Cox who won 835 votes.

The historic achievement for the Green Party was greeted with the loudest cheer of the night, as an army of volunteers and political activists celebrated the big win.

“This is a massive historic moment for Southend and we hope it’s the first of many and a new era for Southend politics,” Mr Longstaff told the Echo.

“We will be working hard day and night, not only in council to advance the green agenda, but to win that next green seat and keep building from there.”

The Green Party experience a strong showing nationally, picking up an extra [add this figure in at the final count but already looks promising at 4.40am!] seats across the country.

“We come here with a mission; a mission for environmental and social justice and the people of Leigh have responded to that,” Mr Longstaff said.

The historic importance of the moment was not lost on the candidate, who while surrounded by beaming supporters, added: “Ultimately, it’s the symbolism of this win that is so important, for Southend to have its first Green Party councillor.

“That sends a strong message to the people of Southend that it is possible, that it’s not a wasted vote, the Greens can win and that has been proved and then some tonight by hitting the 1,000-vote mark.

“That vote total is a really strong message from the people of Leigh that they want change and they want a society that cares for its environment and residents.”

Recalling the weeks leading up to polling day, Mr Longstaff says residents on the door told him they were “tired of the same old politics”.

“This has not been a singular effort,” he added.

“Everyone worked so hard and we have such a determined and dedicated team here.”