glasgow green party 2017

Patrick Harvie with Glasgow Green Party members: he will contest the Glasgow North seat for the UK General Election. Photo: SGP

The Scottish Greens have announced they will stand in only three of Scotland’s 59 constituencies in the forthcoming UK General Election.

It is understood that local branches were given full discretion as to whether they wanted to field candidates. Only Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Falkirk Greens chose to do so.

The candidates will be Patrick Harvie for Glasgow North, Lorna Slater for Edinburgh North & Leith, and Debra Pickering for Falkirk.

Scottish Greens stopped short of backing a formal ‘progressive alliance’ and will not formally endorse other candidates. Nonetheless the decision should help ensure fewer Conservatives are elected.

Brances were likely influenced by news that some English Green branches would either stand aside or actively campaign for Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates to try and avoid a landslide Conservative victory.

The BBC report that if everyone who backed the Greens in 2015 had voted SNP in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, the SNP would have denied the Conservatives their single Scottish MP.

On the defensive after the announcement senior Tories responded by saying the Green’s were “rolling over” for the SNP – despite the fact that all three constituencies they will contest are SNP held.

Patrick Harvie’s Glasgow North campaign has been announced as a ‘national target’ for the party. If he wins and stands down from his position as an regional MSP the next candidate on the 2016 regional list, Zara Kitson, would take his place in Holyrood.

The Scottish Greens are in a buoyant mood after making gains across the country in last week’s council elections. Yvonne McLellan, Co-convener of their elections and campaigns committee, said:

“Green teams around Scotland are focused on supporting our new councillors as they get to work helping communities and protecting public services. But they are also determined to reject the Tories’ Hard Brexit disaster and fight for our future in Europe.

“Our volunteers and campaigners have put huge effort and financial resources into the Holyrood and local elections, and this effort has paid off with new Greens elected to represent their communities. Theresa May knows she can rely on self-interested wealthy donors and campaigners who’re allowed to break the spending rules without fear of prosecution. Greens don’t work that way, and we’re not in the pockets of the super-rich.

“That’s why we are targeting our resources to build on our strong support in Glasgow North and in Edinburgh North & Leith, and also build support for the case against fracking in Falkirk. Greens across Scotland will support efforts in these constituencies, offering a bold alternative to the other parties.

“In the same way that the Greens in England focused efforts on Brighton to elect Caroline Lucas to Westminster, we believe by targeting we can work towards Scotland electing its first Green MP.”

You can follow more about the UK General Election on our Live Blog.

Ric Lander

About Ric Lander

Ric is Co-Editor of Bright Green and writes on economics, climate change and Scottish politics. His work based in Edinburgh supports grassroots campaigning against fossil fuels.