General Election 2019: Scottish Greens to contest more than 20 constituencies

The Greens are preparing to contest more than 20 constituencies across Scotland as the party seeks to push the climate crisis up a political agenda dominated by Brexit and the prospect of an IndyRef2.

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie (left) and MSP Ross Greer in the Scottish Parliament. Picture: Neil Hanna

Activists in local branches are said to be dismayed by the SNP’s environmental record and are determined to ensure Green candidates are on the ballot paper in as many Scottish seats as possible.

The party will stand in all five constituencies in Edinburgh as well as several others across the central belt, including Glasgow North, with the final number due to be finalised in the coming days.

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But Greens will not step aside in key marginal seats and have ruled out any loose pro-independence electoral pact with the SNP.

The Scotsman can confirm Elspeth Maclachlan will contest Perth and North Perthshire for the party - the seat currently held by veteran Nationalist MP Pete Wishart with a majority of just 21, and a key target for the Conservatives.

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A lack of funds meant the Greens fielded just five candidates at the last UK-wide poll in 2017, which came just six weeks after Scottish local authority elections.

“This election cannot just be about Brexit,” Green MSP Ross Greer told The Scotsman.

“The UK Government’s own climate advisors have said the next 18 months are absolutely critical if we want to make the changes we need over the next 10 years.

“So the parliament elected in December will be dictating our response to the greatest crisis we have ever faced - which is what the climate crisis is.

“Brexit is a debacle that distracts from all other issues we should be doing something about.

“And when you look at the SNP’s record on the climate, they are still a party committed to maximum extraction of North Sea oil and gas past 2050.

“Their own climate targets give us, at best, a 50/50 chance of stopping climate breakdown.”

Greer continued: “If you believe, like we do, that the climate crisis is the greatest crisis we face, then we are a party you vote for with confidence.”

Asked if there was concern that Green candidates could split the pro-Remain vote in some constituencies, Greer added: “If the SNP or Lib Dems are concerned about the vote being split they are more than welcome to stand down in our favour.

“Political parties stand in elections. We have just as much of a right to stand as everyone else.”