Patrick Harvie

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Patrick Harvie
Patrick Harvie 2021.jpg
Official portrait, 2021
Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights
Assumed office
31 August 2021
First MinisterNicola Sturgeon
Preceded byOffice established
Co-Leader of the Scottish Greens[a]
Assumed office
22 September 2008
Preceded byRobin Harper
Scottish Greens Spokesperson for Finance and the Constitution
In office
6 May 2021 – 30 August 2021
Preceded byHimself (Finance, Economy, Fair Work and Equalities)
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Scottish Greens Spokesperson for Finance, Economy, Fair Work and Equalities
In office
5 May 2016 – 6 May 2021
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byHimself (Finance and the Constitution)
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Glasgow
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)
Assumed office
1 May 2003
Personal details
Born (1973-03-18) 18 March 1973 (age 49)
Vale of Leven, Dunbartonshire, Scotland
Political partyScottish Greens
Alma mater
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
WebsiteOfficial website

Patrick Harvie (born 18 March 1973) is a Scottish politician who has served as Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights since 2021. He has served as one of two co-leaders of the Scottish Greens[a] since 2008, and is one of the first Green politicians in the UK to serve as a government minister. Harvie has been a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the Glasgow region since 2003.

Born in Dunbartonshire, Harvie attended the Manchester Metropolitan University, where he was a member of the Labour Party. From a young age he was active in politics, having attended a Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament demo, while still in a pram.[1] Harvie worked for a sexual health organisation, which led him into campaigning for equality. His experience of campaigning to repeal Section 28, led him to join the Scottish Green Party. Harvie was elected to the Scottish Parliament in the 2003 election, representing the Glasgow region.

In September 2008, Harvie was appointed as male co-convenor of the Scottish Greens, serving alongside Eleanor Scott, Martha Wardrop and Maggie Chapman. In 2019, following a constitutional change in the Green Party, he ran for co-leadership in the August election. He was elected alongside Lorna Slater. As Slater was not an MSP at the time, Alison Johnstone fulfilled her role within the Scottish Parliament, until May 2021. In August 2021, after entering a power-sharing agreement with the SNP, Harvie and Slater were both appointed to the Scottish Government as junior ministers, becoming the first Green Party politicians in the UK to serve in government.

Early life[edit]

Education and career[edit]

Patrick Harvie was born on 18 March 1973 in Vale of Leven, Dunbartonshire. Harvie attended Dumbarton Academy from 1984 and 1991. He then studied at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he was briefly a member of the Labour party.[2]

Before being elected to the Scottish Parliament, Harvie worked within the Gay Men's Project at the sexual health organisation PHACE West, later PHACE Scotland and now part of the Terrence Higgins Trust. He was initially a youth worker and later as Development Worker for the Lanarkshire Health Board area. Although this work was principally concerned with HIV prevention, it also involved Harvie in equality campaigning. Harvie also had a spell as a civil servant, working with the Inland Revenue in Dumbarton.[3]

Early political years[edit]

At a young age, Harvie became involved in politics, having first attended a Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament demo with his mother, while still in a pram. When he was ten, he told his mother that one day he would become Prime Minister. During his years at university he was a member of the Labour Party.[1]

Harvie was active in the campaign to repeal Section 2A of the Local Government Act, more commonly known as Section 28. This campaign was successful, and he has stated that the experience prompted him to become more actively involved in politics, leading to his membership of the Scottish Green Party.[3]

Early political career[edit]

First term; 2003 to 2007[edit]

Patrick Harvie MSP campaigning in Dennistoun, Glasgow

Harvie was elected as MSP for the Glasgow region at the 2003 Scottish Parliament election. He gained attention both for issues strongly associated with the Greens, such as campaigning against the extension to the M74 motorway in Glasgow, and for more 'mainstream' issues such as opposition to the Identity Cards Bill.

Quickly after becoming an MSP he caused some controversy by proposing civil partnership legislation in the Scottish Parliament. Though this legislation was ultimately handled at Westminster and covered the whole UK, the distinctive Scottish proposals helped to stimulate some public debate north of the border, both on the issue of same-sex relationships and on the process known as a Legislative Consent Motion by which the Scottish Parliament allows Westminster to legislate for the whole UK.

Harvie was a member of the Communities Committee of the Scottish Parliament throughout the 2nd Scottish Parliament and served as Scottish Greens Spokesperson for Justice and Communities from 2003 to 2005 and Spokesperson for Justice, Communities, Europe and Constitutional Affairs from 2005 to 2007.[4] Through his work on the Communities Committee, he worked on the Anti-social behaviour Bill, the Charities Bill and the Housing Bill, as well as on issues of homelessness, debt, the planning system and building standards.

In 2004 Harvie was given the 'One to Watch' award at the annual Scottish Politician of the Year event. In addition to the Communities portfolio, Harvie covered the Justice portfolio for the Greens, and has been active on a number of civil liberties issues. He has also been convener of the Cross Party Group (CPG) on Human Rights, and helped to establish a CPG on Sexual Health.

Following the Green Party's disappointing performance in the 2007 election, Harvie was returned with a reduced share of the vote. The tight parliamentary arithmetic and a constructive relationship with the Scottish National Party led to a Co-operation Agreement between the two parties. Under this, Harvie was elected to be convene the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee, an office he held until 2011.[5]

He became the male co-convenor of the Scottish Greens on 22 September 2008 after being the only person to stand for the position.[6] Re-elected in 2016, Harvie joined the Finance and Constitution Committee and became Scottish Greens Spokesperson for Finance, Economy, Fair Work and Equalities.[7][8]

Co-leader of the Scottish Greens[edit]

After changes to their constitution, Harvie was elected co-leader of Scottish Greens in a 2019 co-leadership election.[9]

Bute House Agreement[edit]

Agreement at Bute House in 2021

In August 2021 after weeks of talks, he was at Bute House with his co-leader Lorna Slater and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to announce a power-sharing agreement that would see the Green party in government for the first time in the United Kingdom. There was no agreement on oil and gas exploration, but the government now argued that it had a stronger case for a national independence referendum. As part of the agreement the Green Party would have two ministers in government.[10]

Visiting the Seven Lochs project in Easterhouse, Glasgow, to announce a multi-year funding commitment for the Nature Restoration Fund, November 2021

Junior minister; 2021 to present[edit]

On 30 August 2021, Harvie was appointed Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights.[11] He and Slater are the first Green Party politicians in both Scottish and UK political history to serve in government.

During his tenure, COP26 was held in his home city of Glasgow and Harvie used to occasion to raise the issue of Scottish independence with world leaders.[12] He also got into a dispute with Greenpeace, which had recently criticised Nicola Sturgeon. Sturgeon had asked the British Government whether the new Cambo oil field near Shetland should be "reassessed" in light of the climate crisis. However, Greenpeace said fence sitting was not good enough and urged the First Minister to "stop hiding behind Boris Johnson" and oppose the oilfield.[13] Harvie said the organisation did not understand Scottish politics and the SNP's attachment to the oil industry. "I do think that we are more actively plugged into the Scottish political agenda than Greenpeace," Harvie told journalists. "And I do think Greenpeace, understandably, look at issues such as Cambo in a UK context and don’t see it in a Scottish Parliament context.”[14]

Political views[edit]

Scottish Independence[edit]

Harvie campaigning alongside Alison Johnstone and other Green Party members in 2014

As a member of the Scottish Greens, Harvie is a supporter of Scottish independence and voted 'Yes' in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. In the run up to the referendum, he was part of the Yes Scotland campaign and campaigned alongside Nicola Sturgeon.[15] While he campaigned in-favour, not as a 'nationalist', Harvie stated the cause for independence was "for a vision of Scotland as a peaceful country with social justice, equality and environmental protection at its core".[16]

Since Scotland's strong rejection of Brexit in the 2016 EU membership Referendum, which Harvie and the Greens campaigned 'Remain' for, he has voiced his support for the Scottish Government's proposal for a second independence referendum.[17] In the 2021 Scottish election, the SNP and the Greens collectively won 72 of the 129 seats in the Scottish Parliament, with both parties pledging to hold a referendum before the end of 2023 if the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.[18]

Scottish republicanism[edit]

As well as a supporter of Scottish independence, Harvie supports an Independent Scottish Republic. He has been highly critical of the British Monarch, calling for the Queen to be replaced with a "democratically accountable head of state", having called the Royal Family an "outdated, discredited and totally undemocratic institution".[15]

Personal life[edit]

Harvie is bisexual, and in 2003 became the first openly bisexual Member of the Scottish Parliament.[19] He is an advocate of Open Source and Free Software, and a Linux user. His use of Twitter during an important political dinner drew much media comment.[20]

Harvie is an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society,[21] Honorary Vice-President of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association and a patron of Parents Enquiry Scotland. He is a board member of the Glasgay! Festival, and a member of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Equality Network, Stonewall (UK), Amnesty International, Humanist Society Scotland, Campaign for Real Ale and the Campaign Against the Arms Trade. From 2003 until 2007, Harvie wrote a weekly column in the Scottish edition of the Big Issue.

Harvie was a candidate in the election for Rector of the University of Glasgow in February 2008.[22]


  1. ^ a b The office was known as co-convenor of the Scottish Greens until 2019.


  1. ^ a b "Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater: Who are the new Green ministers?". BBC News. 30 August 2021. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  2. ^ Gordon, Tom (5 April 2015). "Party Leader interviews: Patrick Harvie". The Herald. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  3. ^ a b Chakelian, Anoosh (15 August 2014). "Leader of the Scottish Greens: "You don't need to like Alex Salmond to vote Yes". New Statesman. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Previous MSPs: Session 2 (2003–2007): Patrick Harvie MSP". Scottish Parliament. 7 December 2011. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  5. ^ "Previous MSPs: Session 3 (2007–2011): Patrick Harvie MSP". Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  6. ^ "Harvie to become Green co-leader". BBC News. 22 September 2008. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  7. ^ "Glasgow – Scottish Parliament electoral region – Election 2016". Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Patrick Harvie MSP". Scottish Green Party. 22 May 2018. Archived from the original on 24 March 2019. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Scottish Greens to announce new co-leaders". Holyrood Website. 4 October 2019. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  10. ^ "SNP and Scottish Greens confirm power-sharing deal in historic moment for Greens". the Guardian. 20 August 2021. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  11. ^ "New Ministers to be appointed". The Scottish Government. 30 August 2021. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  12. ^ "Patrick Harvie to use COP26 to push independence case internationally".
  13. ^ "Nicola Sturgeon 'hiding behind PM' on Cambo oilfield, say climate groups". 12 August 2021.
  14. ^ "COP26: Patrick Harvie says 'Greens don't have same position' on drilling oil and gas in independent Scotland | The Scotsman".
  15. ^ a b "Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater: Who are the new Green ministers?". BBC News. 30 August 2021. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  16. ^ "Scottish independence: Greens join Yes Scotland campaign". BBC News. 6 October 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  17. ^ "Greens could back indyref2 court fight against Tories, Patrick Harvie suggests". The National. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  18. ^ "Scottish Green Party members vote to back powersharing deal with SNP". Enfield Independent. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  19. ^ "30 years of Stonewall: The fight for LGBT rights". The Herald. 26 May 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  20. ^ Maddox, David (18 April 2009). "Harvie: Twitter ye not at my manners". The Scotsman.
  21. ^ "Honorary Associates". National Secular Society. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  22. ^ Rectorial Elections 2008 Results, Glasgow University SRC, February 2008

External links[edit]

Party political offices
New office Co-leader of the Scottish Green Party
With: Lorna Slater
Preceded by Co-Convenor of the Scottish Green Party
With: Eleanor Scott 2008–2011
Martha Wardrop 2011–2013
Maggie Chapman 2013–2019
Constitution changed
Scottish Parliament
Preceded by Regional MSP for Glasgow region
With: 6 others