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Greens branches break with party strategy and will not field candidates

The news comes just days after the Scottish Greens launched their campaign, pledging to fight in more than 20 seats in Scotland.

The news comes just days after the Scottish party launched its election campaign (Craig Paton/PA)
The news comes just days after the Scottish party launched its election campaign (Craig Paton/PA)

By Craig Paton, PA Scotland Political Reporter

Green Party associations have decided not to stand candidates in a break with the rest of the Scottish party.

Last week, the Scottish Green Party decided it would not enter into a “Remain alliance” as their counterparts in England and Wales did and pledged to fight more than 20 seats in the December 12 poll.

However, the Dundee and Angus association has said it will focus on campaigning against the Tories, singling out Angus MP Kirstene Hair – who the party says “has a voting record that stands against everything we are for”.

Local branches in Perth and North Perthshire, along with North East Fife, have also said they would not field candidates.

Stephen Gethins, the incumbent in North East Fife, currently has a majority of just two votes and Perth and North Perthshire candidate Pete Wishart has a majority of 21.

We have concluded that we will not be running candidates in Dundee and Angus. Instead, we're going to focus our resources on campaigning against the Conservative Party in Angus Statement from Dundee and Angus Greens

The news comes just days after the party’s campaign launch on Friday in South Queensferry, where co-leader Lorna Slater said the Greens would fight more than 20 contests across the country.

According to a statement on the branch’s Facebook page, the decision was taken at a meeting of members on Saturday.

The Scottish Green Party said the decision not to stand is one taken by local associations.

The statement from the branch said: “We have concluded that we will not be running candidates in Dundee and Angus. Instead, we’re going to focus our resources on campaigning against the Conservative Party in Angus.

“We fully support all Scottish Green candidates who are running in this election to bring the SGP’s vital and distinctive message to voters. We need to demand climate action now. We need voters to demand climate action now.

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The Angus MP was singled out for criticism in a statement from the local branch (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA)

“But Angus’ Tory MP Kirstene Hair has a voting record that stands against everything we are for. She’s voted against support for renewable energy and human rights protections, and in favour of austerity cuts and a disastrous hard Brexit deal.

“We can’t have a green and independent Scotland while politicians like this remain in power.

“We’ll be announcing canvassing events in the Angus towns shortly. You’re all very welcome to join us!”

A spokesman for the Scottish Green Party said: “The decision about whether to stand in individual seats is for local Green branches and are taken for a number of reasons including looking at resources for fighting the 2021 Holyrood election, but all over the country Scottish Greens will be putting pressure on all the establishment parties to recognise the urgency of the climate emergency.

“This is the first general election since UN climate scientists gave us just ten years to turn it around and the loudest and clearest way to demand climate action is to vote Scottish Green.”

PA

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