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by Staff reporter
03 August 2023
Robin Harper: Scottish Greens have lost the plot

Robin Harper photographed for Holyrood by Anna Moffat

Robin Harper: Scottish Greens have lost the plot

Robin Harper, a former leader of the Scottish Greens, has quit the party, saying it has “lost the plot”.

Harper, the first Green UK parliamentarian, raised concerns about the party’s pro-independence stance and its position on trans rights in a letter to co-leader Patrick Harvie.

Harper, 82, served as a Lothians MSP between 1999 and 2011 and was co-convener of the party from 2004-2008.

In the letter, which was obtained by The Times, Harper described himself as "politically left of centre" but said he was troubled by the the party "moving into the gap left by the socialists".

He said: "The question of independence came into sharp focus for me when I was invited to join the group 'Our Scottish Future', with whom I have since been active.

"The video I recorded for them, which you will find online, sums up my intention to fight any attempt to needlessly destroy the United Kingdom.

"You will also be aware of my serious concerns about the way we are handling the situation with the trans community."

Earlier this year, Harper told Holyrood  he "would have lost" a selection battle if he had tried to fight another Scottish Parliament election for the Scottish Greens.

In his letter to Harvie, he added: "My concern that the SGP's public image has been damaged by its failure to co-operate meaningfully with other interests, including the Westminster government, is reinforced by the huge number of friends, acquaintances and random contacts who have expressed to me an opinion that the Scottish Green Party has lost the plot.

"I am aware that former colleagues and friends in the SGP may be sorry - and even offended - by my decision to resign from the party and I apologise for not attempting to speak up within the party before coming to this decision.

"Nevertheless, I believe that if the Scottish Green Party wishes to retain the respect of the nation, it needs to approach its task with a more constructive mindset and a willingness to co-operate."

A spokesperson for the Scottish Greens said: "We thank Robin for what he has done both within Parliament as the first ever Scottish Green MSP and outside it as a tireless advocate for the environment.

"Our party has always been committed to social and environmental justice as well as to independence. With Scottish Greens now in government, we are turning long-held policies such as free bus travel for young people, investing in restoring Scotland's natural environment, and a cap on rent rises into reality.

"This is delivering what Robin and others could only have wished for back in the early days of devolution."

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