Harvie attacks SNP on fossil fuels as he launches Green election campaign

The Scottish Greens co-leader also attacked Labour, which he said lacked 'bold transformational' policies.

Patrick Harvie attacks SNP on fossil fuels as he launches Scottish Greens UK general election campaign STV News

Patrick Harvie called for “bold, transformational” change in Scotland as he launched his party’s general election campaign in Glasgow.

The Scottish Greens co-leader criticised his former Scottish Government colleagues in the SNP, saying the party was “trying to face both ways” on climate change.

He also criticised the Tories and Labour for scrapping some environmental policies.

Harvie told STV News: “People right around the country are of course going to be eager to see the back of a discredited and worn out Tory government.

The Scottish Greens are planning to stand more candidates than ever.STV News

“It can’t come soon enough – but what replaces it is critical and we are not hearing those bold, transformational ideas from Keir Starmer that the country clearly needs.

“It’s when the Greens are in the room that climate and nature are on the agenda.

“Right now we’re seeing the Tories rip up their climate policies, Labour dumping their green investment plan and now the SNP are back trying to face both ways on the fossil fuel industry.”

Speaking on Buchanan Steps on Friday, Harvie said he expects Green candidates to stand in every constituency in Glasgow and possibly in Edinburgh – as the party bids to put forward a record number of candidates in the Westminster election.

Speaking about the SNP, the former tenants’ rights minister said the party is “back to the old trends of trying to face both ways on climate and the fossil fuel industry” after the end of the Bute House Agreement.

He said former first minister Humza Yousaf made a “very serious error” in ending the agreement, which was an SNP-Green powersharing deal, as he insisted: “When the Greens are in the room, change happens.”

Harvie said: “Independence is not an end in itself, it’s a means to achieve a fairer, more equal and more sustainable economy for Scotland.

“A successful, viable economy depends on a liveable environment and with the SNP back trying to face both ways, or actually describing Labour’s tepid position on oil and gas as ‘too extreme’, it’s pretty clear that if you want a political party committed to that sustainable vision for Scotland’s future, it’s the Scottish Greens.

“I suspect if we were in the Bute House Agreement the SNP would not have felt able to describe Labour’s proposal as ‘too extreme’ for example, because that’s not a position we could have supported – it was about working together to achieve common ground.

“That’s why the SNP had been moving away from their historic support for fossil fuels in recent years.

“It’s worrying that it looks like there are early signs they are going to backtrack on that.

“There are communities of all sizes and shapes in Scotland that are trying to put climate action into practice at community level. They need our support, but they also need Government’s.”

Harvie said several policy areas could be “watered down” as a result of the end of the SNP-Green coalition.

He added: “I am worried that they are not going to commit to the action on protecting people in the private rented sector without our proper comprehensive system of rent controls. We need continued progress on that issue, and in a great many other areas as well.”

He added that Scotland should have “zero tolerance for the genocidal collective punishment of the Palestinian people”, and should be recognising Palestinian statehood, and that many people feel “deeply let down” by Labour.

He paid tribute to Green MP Caroline Lucas who is stepping down, but said: “I don’t think the Green movement, environmental movement or social justice movement are going to feel the loss of Caroline, I think they’re going to still feel Caroline’s impact for many, many years to come.”

Patrick Harvie criticised his former SNP colleagues.STV News

Meanwhile, Harvie said it was “concerning” that a draft report into sanctions against former Scottish health secretary Michael Matheson over his iPad roaming charges row had been leaked.

Holyrood’s standard’s committee on Thursday recommended the MSP should face a 27-day suspension from Parliament, and the loss of his salary for 54 days. Parliament will vote on the proposed sanctions in due course.

Harvie said: “We will look carefully at the detail of what the standards committee, the cross-party committee, has recommended.

“I think we should all be concerned a draft of their recommendation was leaked, presumably by a member of the committee.

“I think we should be deeply worried about some aspects of the process. We’ll look in detail at the committee’s recommendation before making a final decision.”

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