Scottish Green Party

Scottish Green Party
Pàrtaidh Uaine na h-Alba
Scots Green Pairty
Co-Convenors Patrick Harvie MSP and Maggie Chapman
Representatives in the Scottish Parliament John Finnie, Ross Greer Patrick Harvie, Alison Johnstone, Mark Ruskell and Andy Wightman
Founded 1990 (1990)
Headquarters Bonnington Mill
72 Newhaven Road
Newspaper Greenprint
Youth wing Scottish Young Greens
Membership Increase 9,000 + [1]
Ideology Green politics
Scottish independence[4][5]
Scottish republicanism[6]
Political position Left-wing
European affiliation European Green Party
International affiliation Global Greens
European Parliament group N/A
UK Parliament affiliation None,
Cooperate 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
6 / 129
Local government in Scotland
12 / 1,223
Party flag
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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 six MSPs in the Scottish Parliament as of 2016. 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.[7] As of May 2016, the Scottish Green Party has become the fourth biggest party by membership in Scotland, overtaking the Scottish Liberal Democrats.[8]


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 six 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.

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.[9] Within days of the Scottish Independence referendum being held, the membership swelled to more than 5,000.[10] Launching its manifesto for the 2015 General Election, the Scottish Green Party stated a membership of over 8,500.[11] By October 2015 the party were holding their biggest ever conference, with their membership standing at more than 9,000.[12]


The Scottish Green Party originated as the Scottish branch of the Ecology Party, founded in 1978 by Leslie Spoor.[13] 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[14] and opposed Britain's entry into the European Common Market in its 1989 European election manifesto, claiming that the Common Market would cause mass unemployment for Scottish workers, force Scotland to move towards a tourist-based economy, enable the destruction of local food markets and cause catastrophic environmental damage – for this reason, the party campaigned for a Europe-wide confederation of individuals on global issues affecting the environment.[15]

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[16][17] 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,[18] 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.[19] On 13 October 2009, he was joined by fellow former Liberal Democrat Cllr Debra Storr.[20] Both Councillors continued to serve on Aberdeenshire Council as members of the Democratic Independent group.[21] At the 2012 Scottish local elections Councillor Debra Storr stood down to concentrate on her professional career.[22] 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.[23] In November 2013, Edinburgh councillor Maggie Chapman succeeded Martha Wardrop as the party's female co-convenor.[24] 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.[25] 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..."[26]

In February 2005 the party announced plans to field candidates in 19 seats in the 2005 Westminster elections.[27] In February 2015, the party announced that it would field candidates in 32 seats for the 2015 United Kingdom general election with 40% of their candidates being women.[28]


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

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.[29]


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.[30]

Current MSPs

Previous MSPs


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 party's Glasgow councillors stepped down,[31] reducing the number to 13. Another, from City of Edinburgh Council, 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 when contesting it at an election.

Aberdeenshire Council

City of Edinburgh Council

Glasgow City Council

Midlothian Council

Stirling Council

Previous councillors

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

Local elections

Year First preference votes Share of votes Seats won Additional Information
8 / 1,222
First ever councillors elected. Not involved in any governing coalition.
14 / 1,223
6 more councillors elected. Cllr Ian Baxter part of coalition on Midlothian Council.

Scottish Parliament

Year Votes Share of votes Seats won Position Outcome Additional Information
1 / 129
5th Opposition First election to the re-constituted Scottish Parliament. Robin Harper becomes the first elected Green parliamentarian in the UK.
7 / 129
5th Opposition The party's largest ever parliamentary group.
2 / 129
5th Opposition
2 / 129
5th Opposition
6 / 129
4th Opposition The party's highest number of votes in a Scottish election. Elected the youngest ever MSP, Ross Greer.

UK Parliament

Year Share of votes Seats won Additional Information
0 / 72
0 / 59
0 / 59
0 / 59

European Parliament

Year Votes Share of votes Seats won Additional Information
0 / 8
0 / 7
0 / 6
0 / 6
The highest vote share the party has achieved.

See also


  1. "SCOTTISH GREENS WELCOME LATEST HOLYROOD POLL". Scottish Green Party. 2015-06-09. Retrieved 2015-06-09.
  2. 'Now is the time to fight to stay in Europe ... and to reform it from the left, not the right as Cameron plans'.
    Scottish Green Party website. Published February 2016. Retrieved March 2016. Author – Ross Greer.
  3. 'For A Radically Reformed Europe: The Green Campaign To Remain'. Retrieved March 2016.
  4. 'The Scottish Green Party supports Scottish independence'. Published November 2012. Retrieved May 2015.
  5. Macnab, Scott (10 June 2014). "Scottish independence 'for fairer, greener Scotland'". The Scotsman. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  6. '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.
  7. "SCOTTISH GREENS THANK OVER 3,000 NEW MEMBERS". Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  8. Bradley, Jane (8 January 2015). "Scots Greens blast TV debate snub as Ukip included". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  9. The Scottish Green Party Statement of Accounts For The Year Ended 31 December 2009, Electoral Commission website, retrieved 10 May 2011
  10. "Scottish referendum: 'Yes' parties see surge in members". BBC News. 22 September 2014.
  11. "Manifesto launch: Scottish Green Party unveils 'bold vision'". BBC News. 30 March 2015.
  12. "Scottish public 'should have power to propose independence referendum'". The Herald. 10 October 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  13. Paul Cockburn, "Leslie Spoor", The Herald, 30 March 2011
  14. "Greens show their colours to back vote for independence". The Scotsman. 30 July 2005. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  15. Smith, Ken (19 May 1989). "Greens oppose the single market". The Glasgow Herald. p. 15. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  16. "SNP and Greens sign working deal". BBC News. 11 May 2007. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  17. Text of Scottish National Party and Scottish Green Party Cooperation Agreement (60Kb pdf), accessed 6 January 2010
  18. "Scottish budget rejected by MSPs". BBC News. 28 January 2009.
  19. Gordon, Green. "Welcoming Martin Ford to the Greens.". Two Doctors. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
  20. Glenn, Stephen. "Welcoming Debra Storr to the Greens.". Two Doctors. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
  21. "Aberdeenshire Council – Councillor Political Affiliation". Archived from the original on 3 November 2011.
  22. Urquhart, Frank (4 May 2012). "Scottish council elections: Fight is on for Aberdeenshire as Anne Robertson steps down". The Scotsman. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  23. "Perspective: Why a Yes voter needn't be a nationalist". 2013-01-10. Retrieved 2013-04-03.
  24. "Glasgow MSP retains Greens leader role". Evening Times. Newsquest. 25 November 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  25. "Robin Harper to vote No". Edinburgh News. Johnston Press. 3 December 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  26. "Patrick Harvie MSP". Patrick Harvie MSP. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  27. "Greens to contest 19 seats in bid to gain historic first MP". The Scotsman. 28 February 2005. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  28. "Scottish Greens set to field candidates in 32 seats". Sunday Herald. Newsquest. 22 February 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  29. The Principles of the Scottish Green Party, party website, accessed 28 December 2009
  30. "The Green MSPs' blog". Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  31. 1 2 Braiden, Gerry (14 May 2015). "Glasgow administration faces three by-elections". The Herald. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  32. 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.
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