Scottish Green Party

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Scottish Green Party
Pàrtaidh Uaine na h-Alba
Scots Green Pairty
Co-Convenors Patrick Harvie and Maggie Chapman
Representatives in the Scottish Parliament Patrick Harvie and Alison Johnstone
Founded 1990 (1990)
Headquarters Bonnington Mill
72 Newhaven Road
Newspaper Greenprint
Youth wing Scottish Young Greens
Membership Increase 9,000 +[1]
Ideology Green politics
Left-wing populism
Scottish independence[2]
Scottish republicanism[3]
Political position Left-wing
International affiliation Global Greens
European affiliation European Green Party
European Parliament group N/A
UK Parliament affiliation None,
Cooperates with (but are independent from) the Green Party of England and Wales and Green Party in Northern Ireland
Colours      Green
Scottish seats in the House of Commons
0 / 59
Scottish seats in the European Parliament
0 / 6
Scottish Parliament
2 / 129
Local government in Scotland
12 / 1,223
Party flag
Scottish Greens flag.svg
Politics of Scotland
Political parties
Part of a series on
Green politics
Sunflower symbol

The Scottish Green Party (Scottish Gaelic: Pàrtaidh Uaine na h-Alba; Scots: Scots Green Pairty) is a green, left wing political party in Scotland. The party has two MSPs in the Scottish Parliament: Patrick Harvie, representing Glasgow, and Alison Johnstone, representing Lothian. The party also have twelve councillors in 5 of the 32 Scottish local councils.

The Scottish Green Party was created in 1990 when the former Green Party split into separate parties for Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England and Wales. The party is affiliated to the Global Greens and the European Green Party. While associated mainly with environmentalist policies, it has a history of support for communitarian economic policies, including well-funded, locally controlled public services within the confines of a steady-state economy, is supportive of proportional representation and takes a progressive approach to social policies. It is the only party other than the Scottish National Party to both support Scottish independence and have representation in Scottish Parliament.

Party membership increased dramatically following the Scottish Independence Referendum.[4] The Scottish Green Party has now become the fourth biggest party by membership in Scotland, overtaking the Scottish Liberal Democrats.[5]


The Scottish Green Party is fully independent, but works closely with the other green parties of the United Kingdom and Ireland: the Green Party of England and Wales, the Green Party in Northern Ireland and the Green Party of Ireland. It is a full member of the European Green Party. The party currently has two MSPs and fourteen councillors. At the 2005 Westminster election, the party contested 19 seats and polled 25,760 votes, they returned no MPs. Its highest share of the vote was 7.7% of the vote in Glasgow North. In the European Parliament election of 2004, it polled 6.8% of the vote and did not return any MEPs. The party lost five of their seven seats in the 2007 Scottish Parliament election.

Launching its manifesto for the 2015 General Election, the Scottish Green Party stated a membership of over 8,500.[6] According to accounts filed with the Electoral Commission for the year ending December 31, 2009, the party had an income of about £90,230 that year, an expenditure of £61,165 and a membership of 1,072.[7] On the 20th of September 2014 the Scottish Green Party posted to their Facebook page that they'd gained 1,200 members since the previous morning, the day after the Scottish Independence referendum vote.[8]


The Scottish Green Party originated as the Scottish branch of the Ecology Party, founded in 1978 by Leslie Spoor.[9] The Ecology Party became the UK Green Party and it remained a constituent party until 1990, when the Scottish Green Party became a separate entity. The separation was entirely amicable, as part of the green commitment to decentralisation: the Scottish Green Party supported the referendum on Scottish independence. The Scottish Green Party benefits from the fact that the British government created a Scottish Parliament, which is elected using the additional member system of proportional representation. In the first election to this Parliament, in 1999, the Scottish Green Party got one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) elected by proportional representation, Robin Harper, the UK's first elected Green parliamentarian (George MacLeod had previously represented the UK Green Party in the House of Lords). On 1 May 2003 the Scottish Greens added six new MSPs to their previous total.

In the 2007 elections, the Party lost five seats in Holyrood. However, in the council elections, taking place under the new Single Transferable Vote voting system, they gained three Councillors on the City of Edinburgh Council and five Councillors on Glasgow City Council. On 11 May, the Greens signed an agreement[10] with the Scottish National Party, which meant that the Greens voted for Alex Salmond as First Minister and supported his initial Ministerial appointments. In return, the Nationalists backed a climate change bill as an early measure and promised to legislate against ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Firth of Forth. The SNP also agreed to nominate Patrick Harvie, one of the Green MSPs, to convene one of the Holyrood committees: Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change.

On 28 January 2009, the two Green MSPs were instrumental in the defeat of the Government's budget,[11] though a slightly amended version was passed easily the following week. On 31 May, Cllr Martin Ford, formerly a Liberal Democrat, joined the Scottish Green Party in protest against the plans by Donald Trump to develop on an important environmental site at Menie.[12] On 13 October 2009, he was joined by fellow former Liberal Democrat Cllr Debra Storr.[13] Both Councillors continued to serve on Aberdeenshire Council as members of the Democratic Independent group.[14] Councillor Debra Storr stood down at the 2012 Scottish local elections to concentrate on her professional career. Councillor Martin Ford was re-elected, this time standing as a Scottish Green Party candidate.

After the Scottish Government announced the referendum on Scottish independence, a campaign group called Yes Scotland was established to promote a vote for independence. Leading members of the Scottish Green Party actively supported and became involved with the campaign from its foundation, with Patrick Harvie among the members of Yes Scotland's Advisory Board.[15] In November 2013, Edinburgh councillor Maggie Chapman succeeded Martha Wardrop as the party's female co-convenor.[16] In December, former convenor Robin Harper said that he would "absolutely vote No" in the independence referendum and offered his backing to the Better Together campaign, putting himself at odds with official party policy and its present leadership. Going on to say that he would like to help the Better Together and that there was a "significant minority" of Greens who were opposed to independence.[17] Uniquely amongst the parties in the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Green Party is open about and comfortable with the differences of opinion in the party on the constitutional issue, with co-convenor Patrick Harvie pointing out that "even the very firm supporters of independence within the Greens tend to be more strongly motivated by other aspects of our political agenda..."[18]

In February 2015, the party is set to field candidates in 32 seats for the 2015 United Kingdom general election with 40% of their candidates being women. [19]


According to the party's website, the Scottish Greens are committed to forming a sustainable society and are guided by four interconnected principles:

  • Ecology: Our environment is the basis upon which every society is formed. Whenever we damage our environment, we damage ourselves. Respect for our environment is therefore essential.
  • Equality: A society that is not socially and economically just cannot be sustainable. Only when released from immediate poverty can individuals be expected to take responsibility for wider issues. Our society must be founded on cooperation and respect. We campaign hard against discrimination on grounds of gender, race, sexuality, disability, age or religion.
  • Radical Democracy: Politics is too often conducted in a polarised, confrontational atmosphere and in a situation remote from those that it affects. We must develop decentralised, participative systems that encourage individuals to control the decisions that affect their own lives.
  • Peace and Nonviolence: Violence at all levels of human interaction must be rejected and succeeded by relations characterised by flexibility, respect and fairness.

The party claims that, taken together, these principles give the party a holistic view that is in common with all Green parties around the world.[20]


All of the Scottish Green Party's Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) have been elected under the list or "top-up" system of representation in the Parliament.[21]

Current MSPs[edit]

John Finnie[22] and John Wilson[23] are both party members but sit as independent MSPs, having joined the party since the 2011 election. Both were elected as SNP MSPs but left over the party's decision to reverse its policy of opposition to NATO membership.[24]

Previous MSPs[edit]


The party made its first major breakthroughs at council level in the 2007 local elections, electing 8 councillors. In the 2012 local elections this was increased to 14. However, in May 2015, one of the Glasgow Green Councillors stepped down, reducing the number to 13. Another stepped down in June of that year to focus on the 2016 Scottish general election. To date, no Scottish Green Party councillor has lost their seat.

Aberdeenshire Council[edit]

City of Edinburgh Council[edit]

  • Steve Burgess (Southside/Newington ward)
  • Melanie Main (Meadows/Morningside ward)
  • Gavin Corbett (Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart ward)
  • Chas Booth (Leith ward)
  • Nigel Bagshaw (Inverleith ward)

Glasgow City Council[edit]

  • Nina Baker (Anderston/City ward)
  • Martin Bartos (Partick West ward)
  • Martha Wardrop (Hillhead ward)
  • Kieran Wild (Canal ward)

Midlothian Council[edit]

  • Ian Baxter (Bonnyrigg ward)

Stirling Council[edit]

  • Mark Ruskell (Dunblane & Bridge of Allan ward)

Previous councillors[edit]

  • Danny Alderslowe (Southside Central ward, Glasgow City Council, 2007–12)
  • Stuart Clay (Partick West ward, Glasgow City Council, 2007–12)
  • Alison Johnstone (Meadows/Morningside ward, City of Edinburgh Council, 2007–12)
  • Liam Hainey (Langside ward, Glasgow City Council, 2012–15)
  • Maggie Chapman (Leith Walk ward, City of Edinburgh Council, 2012–15)

Prior to the 2007 elections, the Party had only ever elected one councillor at local level: in May 1990, Roger (aka Rory) Winter, representing the Highland Green Party (Uainich na Gàidhealtachd), was elected in Nairn as Scotland's first Green regional councillor to the then Highland Regional Council. Cllr Winter broke away from the Greens in 1991 and continued his four-year term as an Independent Green Highlander.

Electoral performance[edit]

Election Percentage of Scottish vote Seats won Additional Information
1999 Scottish Parliament Election 3.6% 1 seat Robin Harper became first elected Green parliamentarian in Britain.
1999 European Parliament Election 5.8% 0 seats
2001 General Election 0.2% 0 seats
2003 Scottish Parliament Election 6.9% 7 seats
2004 European Parliament Election 6.8% 0 seats
2005 General Election 1.1% 0 seats
2007 Scottish Parliament Election 4.0% 2 seats
2009 European Parliament Election 7.3% 0 seats
2010 General Election 0.7% 0 seats
2011 Scottish Parliament Election 4.4% 2 seats
2014 European Parliament Election 8.1% 0 seats The highest ever vote share the party has achieved.
2015 General Election 1.3% 0 seats Best result was 6.2% (4th place) in Glasgow North

Scottish Parliament[edit]

Election year # of 2nd votes  % of 2nd vote # of overall seats won +/- Notes
1999 84,024 3.59 (#5)
1 / 129
Steady 0
2003 132,138 6.9 (#5)
7 / 129
Increase 6
2007 82,584 4.0 (#5)
2 / 129
Decrease 5
2011 87,060 4.38 (#5)
2 / 129
Steady 0

See also[edit]

Related organisations[edit]


  1. ^ "SCOTTISH GREENS WELCOME LATEST HOLYROOD POLL". Scottish Green Party. 2015-06-09. Retrieved 2015-06-09. 
  2. ^ ‘The Scottish Green Party supports Scottish Independence’. Published November 2012. Retrieved May 2015.
  3. ^ ‘A hereditary monarchy is incompatible with Green principles of democracy, equality and fairness. We favour an elected Head of State’. Published November 2012. Retrieved May 2015.
  4. ^ "SCOTTISH GREENS THANK OVER 3,000 NEW MEMBERS". Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  5. ^ Bradley, Jane (8 January 2015). "Scots Greens blast TV debate snub as Ukip included". The Scotsman (Johnston Press). Retrieved 19 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "GREENS LAUNCH MANIFESTO - AN ECONOMY FOR THE PEOPLE.". Scottish Green Party. 2015-03-30. Retrieved 2015-03-31. 
  7. ^ The Scottish Green Party Statement of Accounts For The Year Ended 31 December 2009, Electoral Commission website, retrieved 10 May 2011
  8. ^
  9. ^ Paul Cockburn, "Leslie Spoor", The Herald, 30 March 2011
  10. ^ SNP and Greens sign working deal, BBC News website, 11 May 2007, accessed 6 January 2010
    Text of Scottish National Party and Scottish Green Party Cooperation Agreement (60Kb pdf), accessed 6 January 2010
  11. ^ Scottish budget rejected by MSPs BBC News, 28 January 2009
  12. ^ Gordon, Green. "Welcoming Martin Ford to the Greens.". Two Doctors. Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  13. ^ Glenn, Stephen. "Welcoming Debra Storr to the Greens.". Two Doctors. Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  14. ^ "Aberdeenshire Council - Councillor Political Affiliation". 2011-06-10. Retrieved 2011-12-30. 
  15. ^ "Perspective: Why a Yes voter needn't be a nationalist". 2013-01-10. Retrieved 2013-04-03. 
  16. ^ "Glasgow MSP retains Greens leader role". Evening Times (Newsquest). 25 November 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  17. ^ "Robin Harper to vote No". Edinburgh News (Johnston Press). 3 December 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Scottish Greens set to field candidates in 32 seats". Sunday Herald (Newsquest). 22 February 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  20. ^ The Principles of the Scottish Green Party, party website, accessed 28 December 2009
  21. ^ The Green MSPs' blog
  22. ^ "Former SNP MSP John Finnie joins Greens". BBC News (BBC). 11 October 2014. 
  23. ^ "Second former SNP MSP joins Greens". BBC News (BBC). 16 December 2014. 
  24. ^ "SNP members vote to ditch the party's anti-Nato policy". BBC News (BBC). 19 October 2012. 
  25. ^ Cllr Ford was originally elected as a Scottish Liberal Democrats councillor but left the party following the controversy over Donald Trumps proposed Golf Course and resort. He was elected as a Scottish Green at the 2012 Scottish Local Elections.

External links[edit]