Patrick Harvie

In an unprecedented move, the co-leader of the Scottish Green Party – Patrick Harvie – has called for a candidate for the deputy leadership of the Green Party of England and Wales to be expelled from the party. Harvie accused Shahrar Ali of ‘undermining’ LGBTIQA+ equality, and said that political parties must do more to challenge anti-LGBTIQA+ prejudice. Harvie said,

The last few years have seen a frightening rise in anti-LGBTQ+ prejudice, especially transphobia. Today again, it’s leading to direct attacks by people who would gleefully welcome the demise of a prominent LGBTQ+ human rights organisation. Organisations of all kinds, but especially media and all political parties, must do more to challenge this prejudice instead of fanning the flames. For parties – including Greens – this clearly must involve expelling members who undermine LGBTQ+ equality.

Harvie made the extraordinary move following recent comments Ali made in response to a Tweet from the LGBTIQA+ rights organisation Stonewall.

On July 22, Stonewall tweeted, “Research suggests that children as young as 2 recognise their trans identity”, continuing by saying, “LGBTQ-inclusive and affirming education is crucial for the wellbeing of all young people!” Ali claimed that this was an “off the scale safeguarding risk”, and asked, “would we teach 2 year olds [the] concept of schizophrenia?”. He went on to brand Stonewall an “utter disgrace” and a “danger to children”.

Harvie’s intervention comes at a time when the Scottish Greens are set to debate a motion which would formally cut the party’s ties with the Green Party of England and Wales. The motion alleges that office holders of the latter have engaged in “transphobic rhetoric and conduct”, and its proposers have accused the party of “complicity on transphobia”.

Following news of the motion, a spokesperson for the Green Party of England and Wales said, “The Green Party of England and Wales values highly the relationship we hold with our sister party, the Scottish Greens and we are proud of the aims and values that we share in furthering Green policies across the UK”, adding, “It is our priority to champion diversity and be a welcoming and inclusive party for all – that means campaigning for the rights of trans people, as well as women and all oppressed groups, as the Green Party has always done.”

Ali has long faced allegations from party members of making transphobic comments. This accelerated following his appointment as the Green Party of England and Wales’ policing and domestic safety spokesperson in 2021. Six weeks after his appointment, the party’s official youth and student wing – the Young Greens – called for his removal. In February 2022, he was removed as a party spokesperson as a result of what the chair of the party’s executive said were “breaches of the Speakers’ Code of Conduct”.

Ali has consistently denied he is transphobic or has made transphobic comments.

Bright Green approached Ali for comment on this article. He had not responded by the time of publication.

PS. We hope you enjoyed this article. Bright Green has got big plans for the future to publish many more articles like this. You can help make that happen. Please donate to Bright Green now.

Image credit: Ric Lander – Creative Commons