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Pro-Europe campaign to be considered by Scottish Greens

Published 27/09/2015

Caroline Lucas is among the speakers at the Scottish Greens' party conference
Caroline Lucas is among the speakers at the Scottish Greens' party conference

Scottish Greens may organise their own pro-Europe campaign in the run-up to a key vote on the UK's future in the European Union.

The party, which now has more than 9,000 members, is to consider the issue at its biggest-ever conference at the SECC in Glasgow next month.

The UK Government is proposing to hold an in/out referendum on the UK's membership of the EU before the end of 2017.

Members of the Scottish Greens' international committee have put forward a motion to be debated at their conference calling for a "positively focused, distinct Scottish Green campaign that argues that Europe can be reformed to protect workers' rights, social justice and lead the fight against climate change".

It comes after the party organised its own Green Yes campaign in the run-up to last year's Scottish independence referendum.

Polls have suggested the party could be on course to increase the number of MSPs it has from the current total of two in next year's Scottish Parliament elections.

Ross Greer, Scottish Green candidate for West of Scotland region in 2016 and the party's spokesman on Europe, said: " Being part of the EU supports jobs, education and free movement of people, and this motion from our international committee ensures our conference debates one of the biggest issues of the moment.

"By campaigning to stay in we can campaign to help improve the EU by arguing against austerity and promoting a fairer economy."

He added: " Scottish Greens believe that a more democratic and progressive Europe is possible, and are determined to fight for this.

"We must counter the right-wing voices attempting to define this issue. Whether it's the Tories or Ukip arguing for in or out, their motives are all about strengthening the grip of big business and undermining our social and environmental protections.

"While we will seek opportunities to work constructively with others to promote a positive vision for the EU, we don't believe it would be right to join any official campaign likely to be dominated by the Conservative Party. We will not allow arguments around Europe to continue to be shaped by right-wing voices."

Speakers at the conference include Green MP Caroline Lucas, Scotland's former chief medical officer Sir Harry Burns and Jack Monroe, the food blogger turned anti-poverty campaigner.

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