Labour accused of identity crisis over ‘True Green Party’ claims

Labours environment spokeswoman Claudia Beamish highlighted her partys plans to make Scotland greener. Picture: contributed
Labours environment spokeswoman Claudia Beamish highlighted her partys plans to make Scotland greener. Picture: contributed
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A LABOUR MSP’s claim her party is the “true green party in Scotland” has led to the Greens accusing Labour of a having an “identity crisis”.

Labour’s environment spokeswoman Claudia Beamish highlighted her party’s plans to make Scotland greener, including banning onshore fracking and blocking the Scottish Government’s plan to cut aviation taxes.

She said: “Labour is the only party committed to reclaiming Britain’s leading role in tackling climate change.

“The SNP’s plan to cut taxes on aviation, and the Greens’ support for a £170 million cut to local services, proves that Labour is now the true green party in Scotland.

“Climate change is the great challenge for this generation, and both the Scottish and UK Governments must take action to tackle it now.

“As part of our plan to make Scotland a greener country, Scottish Labour will push the SNP to stress-test all policies against our climate commitments, ban onshore fracking, create jobs in the low-carbon industry and deliver a public transport system fit for the 21st century.”

She will hold a summit on green issues with environmental charities, council representatives and trade unions in the Scottish Parliament next week.

Scottish Greens climate and energy spokesman Mark Ruskell accused Labour of promoting a mixed message on environmental issues.

He said: “Today it’s the environment, tomorrow it’s renewing Trident. Scottish Labour is a party with an identity crisis always trying to work out what it’s against, rather than what it stands for.

“This is a party which supports tax breaks for the oil industry instead of a divestment programme, supports aviation growth, nuclear new-build and is giving up on the European Union - the planet’s strongest global voice in favour of climate action.”

He said his party had “reversed” £160 million of budget cuts earlier this year and analysis from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre showed an increase in the total funding package for local government.

He added: “Green MSPs therefore achieved more in a single budget than Labour has in a decade of opposition, but we’ll always welcome support for Scottish Green Party environmental policies, even if it is just temporary.

“We wish them well in getting all of their members and supporters on board.”