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by Staff Reporter
11 June 2024
Former Scottish Green leader Robin Harper joins Labour

Photo by Anna Moffat

Former Scottish Green leader Robin Harper joins Labour

Former Scottish Green leader Robin Harper has joined the Scottish Labour Party, he has announced.

In a letter to voters, Harper – who became the UK’s first Green parliamentarian when he was elected to Holyrood in 1999 – said Labour was the “only party with a plan for combatting climate change”.

He quit his former party last summer, saying it had “lost the plot”.

Harper had been at odds with his party for some time on the question of Scottish independence – he favours remaining in the UK – and on the matter of trans rights and women’s single-sex spaces.

In November he called on current co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater to resign, saying they had created a “chilling atmosphere of censure and fear within the party” over gender identity.

He backed the Scottish Green Women’s Declaration for Sex-Based Rights. Signatories to that declaration were expelled from the party last month.

On his decision to join Labour, Harper said: “I desperately want to see the back of this Conservative government, who have crashed our economy, degraded our political life and failed to tackle climate change. 

“The SNP, and until recently their Green coalition partners, have also failed to take action on the environment. John Swinney has failed to rule out supporting new oil and gas licences and the SNP have rejected Labour’s calls for a windfall tax on record oil and gas profits. 

“Tory and SNP inaction on a just transition to renewable energy not only fails to tackle climate  change, it fails to take advantage of the economic opportunities and fails to bring down bills amidst a cost-of-living crisis that has hit thousands of constituents in Edinburgh South. 

“Labour is the only party with a plan for combatting climate change and harnessing the potential of the green industrial revolution.”

Harper had been a member of the Greens since 1985, then known as the Ecology Party. He led them between 1990 and 2002, then again between 2004 and 2008.

He was a Lothian list MSP between 1999 and 2011.

Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray welcomed the news. He said: “Robin is one of the most respected parliamentarians of the devolution era. His decision to join the Scottish Labour Party demonstrates that we are the only party with a clear plan to deliver on Scotland’s green potential.”

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