The Green party’s strong showing in the south coast city of Brighton and Hove was reflected in a by-election for a council seat , which they retained comfortably.

The Regency ward was held by the Greens with a 3.5% swing away from the Tories.

Jason Kitcat won 41.6 per cent of the vote, almost double that of the Tories, who polled 22 per cent. Labour won 20.9 per cent of the vote.

The significance of the result is that the ward is in the parliamentary constituency of Brighton Pavilion.

The seat is currently held by Labour, but it is seen as the best chance of a Green win at the next general election.

In 2005 the Greens took 22% of the vote, with the Tories on 23.9% and Labour on 35.4%.

The constituency has one of the highest populations of LGBT people in the UK, and the Greens have consistently courted the gay vote.

At the next general election the party would need a swing of 7% to take the seat.

David Lepper became the first Labour candidate to ever take Brighton Pavilion in 1997, but he has announced that he will stand down at the next election.

Meanwhile, the Tories have selected Dr David Bull as their candidate for the seat. A former Children’s television doctor, Bull is openly gay.

He appeared on a Saturday Night Fever-themed Conservative float at this year’s Brighton Pride parade, surrounded by a bevy of topless young men.

The Sun later questioned whether his supporters were party members.