Greens to contest 19 seats in bid to gain historic first MP

THE Scottish Green Party announced yesterday that it hopes to gain its first MP by contesting 19 seats in the General Election.

The number of constituencies the Greens will target in Scotland will be nearly five times as many as in 2001. The party said it aims to build on the success which saw it take seven MSPs at Holyrood in 2003.

The party leader, Robin Harper, MSP, acknowledged that the goal was ambitious because Westminster’s first-past-the-post voting system does not favour smaller parties. He said: "It will be a challenge, but 2005 is a real opportunity for Scots to vote for a green alternative to the dinosaur politics of the rest. Greens offer fresh hope of a better future for Scotland."

The party will stand in Dumfries and Galloway, Glasgow, Inverness, the Lothians, Lanarkshire, Perthshire, Fife, Central Scotland and Aberdeen, among others.

The party said it was confident of taking votes from the Liberal Democrats, because of what they labelled Labour’s coalition partner’s "poor record" on the environment and social justice.

Shiona Baird, MSP, the Greens’ co-convener, said: "The Lib Dems and Labour have lost all credibility - charging ahead with climate-wrecking policies, supporting war in Iraq and standing by whilst community and public interest is trampled over by the interests of big business and corporations."