Scottish Greens to field record 44 candidates at General Election

Co-leader Lorna Slater said the party will ‘make sure the climate emergency is mentioned at every opportunity’.

Scottish Greens will field 44 candidates on July 4
Scottish Greens will field 44 candidates on July 4 (Jane Barlow/PA)

The Scottish Greens will field a record 44 candidates at the General Election as the party accused opponents of trying to sweep the climate emergency “under the rug”.

Co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater confirmed the party has surpassed its previous 2015 record of 31 candidates, while 19 Greens were on ballot papers in 2019.

However, Ms Slater acknowledged the “difficulty” in smaller parties like the Scottish Greens winning seats due to the Westminster voting system.

During a press conference in Glasgow, she said: “This election, we have even more Scottish Greens candidates, giving even more people the opportunity to vote for the climate action that we badly need.

“Today I am proud to announce that there will be 44 Scottish Green candidates standing the length and breadth of this country.

“Forty-four candidates who will be asking the people of Scotland to vote like your future depends on it, because our future does depend on the outcome of this election.”

Speaking to the PA news agency after her speech, she said the record number of candidates is a “significant indication of our growth as a party”.

But she added: “Of course, first-past-the-post voting such as we have at Westminster isn’t very democratic and it’s quite difficult for small parties to actually win seats.

“This is a really good opportunity for us to get out there, get the Scottish Green message heard, and as standing as candidates we make sure that the climate emergency is mentioned at every opportunity. We won’t let other parties sweep it under the rug.”

Mr Harvie’s speech signalled that the record candidate numbers will be a sign of the future as the Greens look to the 2026 Holyrood election.

He said: “Help us deliver the most important General Election campaign we’ve ever fought, help us put the country back on track in terms of the climate objectives, and put us as a party on track to deliver our biggest ever campaign in a couple of years’ time for the 2026 Scottish Parliament election.”

Patrick Harvie said the Greens are already eyeing the next Holyrood election in 2026
Patrick Harvie said the Greens are already eyeing the next Holyrood election in 2026 (Jane Barlow/PA)

Following the end of the Bute House Agreement – the powersharing deal between the Greens and SNP in Holyrood – the Greens have been more critical of their opponents’ record on climate action, despite the interim target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2030 being scrapped while they were part of the Scottish Government.

Mr Harvie said on Friday that the SNP is “facing both ways” on climate issues, after Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes said new oil and gas licences would be acceptable if they meet climate compatibility targets.

Expanding on this, Ms Slater hit out at all political parties and urged the SNP to “come clean”.

She told PA: “I absolutely think that the SNP are trying to have it both ways (on oil and gas).

“But it’s also horrendous what the other parties are doing – the Tories have said yes to oil and gas, which is reckless in the extreme during a climate emergency.

“Labour have said they won’t change anything the Tories are doing, and the SNP appear to be trying to have it both ways – say no to new licences to environmental campaigners but yes to the industry.

“They need to come clean.”