Last night, Salisbury elected John Glen to serve as our MP for the fifth time.

It was the 27th consecutive Conservative win in the city, an uninterrupted run stretching back almost a century.

So does Salisbury look the same this morning? I was at the count last night, standing as the candidate for the Green Party, and I think something important did change.

For the first time since 1979, more votes were cast for parties of the left - Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens received 27,243 votes - than for the right (22,345 for the Conservatives and Reform).

Five thousand votes swung to the left, while another three thousand voters for the Conservatives at the previous election either stayed home, or weren’t here to vote any more.

(Image: Spencer Mulholland)

My instinct is that many of those people simply didn’t vote this time. There was a very high number of spoiled ballots at this election.

All the candidates read the messages on every one of them, and the swell of disenchantment for electoral politics was clear. I think a similar message was sent by people staying away.

So for the first time in my lifetime, the Conservatives have won with a minority of the vote.

What will this mean for us going forwards? John Glen has always tended to follow party lines; now he’s in opposition and knows more voters wanted change than wanted stasis, will that stay the same?

And how can we, the progressive majority, organise and keep pushing for what we want, having been locked out of control of the constituency last night by both Labour and the Lib Dems trying to convince voters they alone could be the tactical vote?

Answering these questions will go a long way to shaping our city in the next five years.

One lesson I think we can all take from this election going forwards, though, is that if two parties are both telling you they’re the only ones who can pip the Tories to the post - neither of them are telling the truth.

Until we get our heads round that, we’ll have to keep finding different ways to make our city what we want it to be.

Barney Norris

Green Party candidate 2024

Send letters by email to or by post to Editor, Salisbury Journal, Suite B (Ground Floor), Milford House, Milford Street, Salisbury, SP1 2BP.