John Finnie, the independent MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has joined the Scottish Green Party.

John was welcomed with a standing ovation as he was unveiled to the party’s conference in Edinburgh in the last few minutes as the denouement of Patrick Harvie’s keynote speech.

John has published an open letter to his constituents on his website, saying:

I have worked alongside Patrick Harvie and Alison Johnstone, as well as independent colleagues Jean Urquhart, the much-missed Margo MacDonald, and now John Wilson, as part of the Independent/Green group in the Scottish Parliament.

I have seen the Greens’ co-convenor Maggie Chapman in action when I was supporting her campaign for a seat in the European Parliament earlier this year.

And of course I have campaigned alongside brilliant and committed grassroots Green activists, as well as those of the SNP, SSP, and no party affiliation, in the referendum.

The more I have seen of the Greens, the more I realised I have been a Green all my life – I just didn’t know it yet.

I saw that my values are Green values: social and environmental justice, democracy and integrity, internationalism and peace.

His letter makes clear that he will continue to sit as an independent MSP, voting with the SNP manifesto that he stood on in 2011, but enjoying the freedom to vote with his conscience on issues not covered by that manifesto.

He has also confirmed that he will be putting his name forward to be the Green candidate for the Highlands and Islands, and if he successfully retains his seat, he will become a full Green MSP at the start of the next parliament.