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Scottish independence: Robin Harper to vote No

Robin Harper, former co-convener of the Scottish Greens, is backing the No camapign. Picture: Julie Bull

Robin Harper, former co-convener of the Scottish Greens, is backing the No camapign. Picture: Julie Bull

FORMER Green MSP for Lothian Robin Harper has revealed he will be voting No in next year’s referendum on Scottish independence.

The former teacher argued that there were more important issues facing Scotland than rearranging ‘constitutional deckchairs’.

Mr Harper, who held the post of co-convener of the party between 2004 and 2008, said he would be ‘happy’ to help the Better Together campaign and stated: “If I really wanted independence, I could have joined the SNP.”

His stance differs from the majority of the Green Party, with current co-convener Patrick Harvie recently launching the pro-independence Green for Yes campaign and expressing reservations over the SNP’s White Paper.

Mr Harvie labelled First Minister Alex Salmond’s plans for tax as ‘not feasible’, with Mr Harper dismissing the blueprint as an attempt to find ‘something for everyone to vote for’.

The first Green parliamentarian in Britain also told the Daily Mail that the First Minister was a ‘political magician’ and ‘a hugely clever manipulator’, adding: “The skill of the magician is to divert people’s attention from what is really happening and gull them into believing that something miraculous will happen.”

Calling the White Paper ‘ludicrous’, Mr Harper added: “This is a clear attempt to divert us from the real issue: do we really wish to leave the UK? Because most of the issues set in this patronising homework exercise could be dealt with right now by the Scottish Parliament.”

Mr Harper, who stepped down from frontline politics at the last Scottish election, said he would be campaigning for the Greens at the 2016 elections for Holyrood on a manifesto ‘tailored to the powers of the Scottish Parliament’.

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