THE Green Party held its one seat in parliament but failed to build on its position, despite winning 1.2 million votes across the UK.
Caroline Lucas was re-elected to Brighton Pavilion on an increased majority and will continue as her party’s standard bearer after winning 22,871 votes, against Labour’s effort of 14,904.
In Scotland, the party said it would take fresh impetus into next year’s Scottish Parliamentary elections after seeing its membership north of the Border rise to more than 9,000.
Despite a raised profile during the campaign, Green leader Natalie Bennett fell to an expected defeat after finishing third in Holborn and St Pancras.
The party also failed to take its key targets of Norwich South and Bristol West – though it polled a respectable 17,224 votes in the latter city, taking it to second place.
The Greens won more than a million votes across the country – up from 285,000 in 2010 – and heralded a “green surge” as they scored second-place finishes in several constituencies.
Ms Bennett, who finished third with 12.8 per cent of the vote, said: “I am immensely proud to have led the party into a general election where we have been able to stand more Green candidates than ever before and saved a record number of deposits.
“I’m also very pleased to have won a record result here in Holborn and St Pancras – the constituency I’m proud to call my home.
“Our astounding membership surge in the last year, which means the Green Party now has more members than both Ukip and the Liberal Democrats, has helped deliver tonight’s excellent results.
“The Green Party are the only party that truly stands up for what they believe in and I am delighted to see that our commitment to deliver a fair economy, a public NHS and a safe climate has resonated with so many voters.
“The people have demonstrated their desire to see real change for the common good.”
In Scotland, the party fielded candidates in the majority of the country’s 59 seats. It campaigned for a £10 minimum wage, “public services in public hands” and “more power for local communities”.
Patrick Harvie MSP, the Scottish Greens co-convener, said: “This election has shown that Scots are tired of the same old UK politics and want change.
“The unfair Westminster voting system was always going to squeeze smaller parties but our strong team of candidates and campaigners in communities around Scotland have made significant progress in building local awareness of our track record and our ambitions.
“The fact that so many people can vote Green but still end up with just one MP elected is just one sign that we need to reform the voting system.
“Poll after poll shows that people are drawn to our ideas to tackle poverty, climate change and corporate greed and that when people vote for policies, we come out a clear favourite.
“Caroline Lucas will continue to be the clearest and most compelling voice at Westminster for a greener, fairer and more humane society.”
Mr Harvie said he hoped to turn positive polling for his party in Scotland into a “sizeable team” of MSPs at next year’s Holyrood elections.
Speaking after her victory, Ms Lucas said: “In 2010, Brighton Pavilion showed that a different kind of politics is possible.
“That you can stand firm by your principles and still be elected.
“And in re-electing me, Brighton has made history again. I couldn’t be more proud to be an MP of this wonderful city. I’m completely honoured to be able to represent it again.
“We will hold parliament to account and push for real reform – starting with proportional representation, for a politics that looks far more like the people it’s supposed to represent.”