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Greens to put ‘climate emergency’ at heart of election

As the Scottish Greens launch their campaign, Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson will visit Scotland.

The Scottish Greens say they will put the “climate emergency” at the heart of the party’s election campaign.

Launching their campaign in South Queensferry, co-leader Patrick Harvie will tell supporters there has “never been a more important general election”.

He will say that the next UK parliament’s five-year term amounts to half of the time the UN has said is left to combat catastrophic climate change.

It comes after the Green party in England and Wales teamed up with the Liberal Democrats Welsh nationalists Plaid Cymru to form a pro-Remain electoral pact in dozens of seats.

The deal, announced on Thursday, will give voters a single Remain choice in 60 constituencies.

However, none of these pacts affect Scotland, with the Scottish Greens and Scottish Lib Dems – both independent parties – refusing to do any electoral pacts.

Harvie will say: “There has never been a more important general election.

“MPs elected next month will preside over half the period we have left to address the climate emergency, yet all the establishment parties have yet to commit to the urgent action required.

“The loudest and clearest way to demand climate action is to vote Scottish Greens on December 12.”

The Greens are joined by the SNP in launching their election campaigns on Friday, with Nicola Sturgeon’s party vowing to protect the NHS from any future post-Brexit trade deal with Donald Trump.

She will commit her party to tabling an “NHS Protection Bill” to prevent the health service “from ever being harmed by a Tory-Trump trade deal”.

The legislation, which would need to be passed at Westminster, would require the devolved administrations explicit consent, giving it a “double lock”, the party said.

Sturgeon added: “The NHS in Scotland is run in Scotland, for Scotland and under the SNP it will always be in public hands. Our NHS is not for sale at any price.”

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson – who represents the Scottish seat of East Dunbartonshire – will come north of the border to Fife for the first time in the campaign.

Speaking ahead of the visit, where she will join Scottish party leader Willie Rennie, Swinson said all four nations of the UK should band together “to stop Brexit”.

She said: “Our party is the home of Remain. We are the voice for the millions of people in every corner of the UK who have marched and protested against Brexit in towns and cities across the UK.

“I want Scotland to be part of that growing, mass movement that is determined to keep our place in the European Union.”

Swinson added: “The four nations of the United Kingdom are stronger when they work together so we should work together to stop Brexit.”

Labour are campaigning on women’s rights in the workplace, with proposals to bump up statutory maternity pay from 9 months to 12 months and to fine companies who fail to publish details of their gender pay gap.

Shadow Scottish secretary Lesley Laird said: “A Labour government at Westminster will deliver a workplace revolution, across the UK and Scotland, to bring about a step-change in how women are treated at work.

“It will boost pay, increase flexibility, and strengthen protections against harassment and discrimination.”

Elsewhere, Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw is visiting a Dumfries charity which provides holidays for injured soldiers who have seen active service.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Scotland on Thursday, pledging to block a second independence referendum in all circumstances.

He also said a Conservative government would carry out a review of alcohol duty to better support domestic drink producers – a “key ask” of the Scotch whisky industry.

During a tour of Roseisle Distillery, the Prime Minister said: “We’re the party that’s saying come on, let’s get together as a whole UK, let’s get Brexit done, get this thing over the line and then get on with bringing our great country together and unleashing the potential of the whole UK.”

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