Greens becoming 'national party' says Natalie Bennett

Natalie Bennett Ms Bennett has accused the major parties of "pandering" to UKIP

The Green Party is becoming a "national party" after making progress in the local elections, leader Natalie Bennett has said.

The Greens became the second largest party in Liverpool and Solihull, replacing the Liberal Democrats in each case.

With 151 of 161 councils declared, the party had gained 17 councillors overall across England.

Ms Bennett also pointed to Bristol, where the Green Party gained two seats.

In Liverpool it won two new councillors, and three in Solihull.

Ms Bennett, who was elected leader in 2012, told the BBC: "We are seeing progress right around the country.

"We're becoming much more of a national party."

Ms Bennett has said her party could triple its number of MEPs from two to six in the European elections, which were also held on Thursday.

The results for the European elections are due to start coming in late Sunday, when voting has finished across the EU.

She has accused the main political parties of "pandering" to UKIP and complained that Nigel Farage's party had been able to "capture the agenda".

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