THE Green Party is holding its spring conference in Finchley this weekend.

Around 600 party members have travelled from far-flung corners of the country to attend the "One World, One Challenge" summit meeting at artsdepot, in Tally Ho Corner.

Party leaders, environmental activists, writers and councillors have all spoken at the event, which began on Thursday and concludes this afternoon.

All three Barnet borough constituency candidates were present: Donald Lyven for Finchley and Golders Green, Andrew Newby for Hendon and Kate Tansley for Chipping Barnet.

Overall, the party has selected 239 UK candidates, 72 per cent of which are men, but hopes to increase this to 315 by the election - the largest number for 18 years.

Speaking to the Times Series, Ms Tansley said: "It has been a really great conference. We've had a lot of interesting discussions and feel we have a real chance of winning some seats in Westminster.

"We've talked about evolving public services and the high speed rail, and how we are prepared to step in where the Tories fear to tread."

The party had 6,883 members in February 2008, but this rose to 9,634 in January this year.

It currently dominates councils in Brighton Pavilion and Norwich South, and in 2009 it gained footholds for the first time on four county councils: Cambridgeshire, Devonshire, Gloucestershire and Suffolk.

Speaking to the conference in the keynote speech on Friday, party leader Caroline Lucas MEP strongly criticised the Labour Government's stance on banks, MP's expenses, climate change and the NHS.

She added: "Who is left in politics who believes that doctors and nurses, health professionals and cleaners, managers and administrators actually work best when motivated not by bonuses and share options, but by the sense of doing what they went into medicine to do, or the satisfaction of seeing patients benefiting from their care?

"Who still believes in public services? We do."

Comedian Alistair Gowan headlined at the conference last night, accompanied by comedian Ian Smith and band Seize the Day.

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