Green leader Natalie Bennett today insisted it is possible for the party to have its first northern MP elected in Sheffield Central - despite few votes last time.
In 2010 candidate Jillian Creasy, who is standing again for Sheffield Central on May 7, secured 1,557 votes, around 3.8 per cent of total votes.
The end result was nail-bitingly close, as Labour’s Paul Blomfield won by just 165 votes over Paul Scriven for the Liberal Democrats
However Mr Blomfield had 17,138 votes cast for him, or 41.3 per cent.
When asked how it was at all realistic the Green party would win, Ms Bennett told The Star: “The thing is 2010 and 2015 are very different elections, we’re in the new era of multi-party politics.
“We’re seeing polling paticularly among students and young people at record levels, and people are really looking around for alternatives and there’s a lot of people who are saying they really want change and we are really thinking about this. Part of the aim of my visit today is to tell people we’re here, we’re serious and you can send Jillian to Westminster.”
A placard reading ‘Clegg free zone’ was also unveiled for the visit, which the Greens said highlighted that it was a race between Labour and them.
Ms Creasy added: “It’s just a totally different sitation this time because it was between Labour and the Lib Dems in 2010, an awful lot of students turned up and voted Lib Dem in very high hopes they would see them stand against student fees but also they were looking to them for an alternative - it hasn’t happened.
“So there is a huge number of very disillusioned people - not just students, there’s a lot of disillusioned Labour voters.
“It’s up in the air, there’s a totally different feel.”
Ms Bennett, who also visited Devonshire Green Medical Centre to sign a petition against funding changes, dismissed a survey which showed 15 per cent of students planned to vote Green, a fall from 28 per cent.
She said: “That’s one survey, there was a survey at York University which showed we were winning.”
Sheffield students quizzed the Green leader on a diverse range of topics as she spoke on the concourse outside The University of Sheffield’s union.
She was challenged on rising job creation and anti-austerity policies, immigration, GM crops and climate targets.
Answering a student who spoke of how the number of people in work has risen, Ms Bennett said: “ I would challenge all of your figures - there’s a figure that shows one in 40 of the jobs created is a full time, stable job.”
Speaking after the event biomedical science student Imogen Andrews, who lives in Sheffield Central, said: “Personally I would like a Labour Green coalition, the Greens don’t have a chance of winning outright and are a bit too idealistic but I’m also not sure that Labour are heading in the right direction.”
Another student added: “I wouldn’t have thought the Greens could win here or overall - I think a lot of their promises are just said to put pressure on other parties really.”