Independent MSP joins Scottish Green surge

By staff writers
October 12, 2014

Independent MSP John Finnie has joined the Scottish Greens. He was received rapturously at their annual conference in Inverness.

The Greens, who were a key part of the Yes Scotland independence campaign, have nearly quadrupled their membership to 7,000 since the referendum, while the SNP have increased to over 80,000 and the Scottish Socialists have enlisted some 3,000 people.

Mr Finnie was elected in 2011 as an SNP list MSP for the Highlands and Islands region, having previously represented the Inverness Ness-side ward on Highland Council since 2007. He left the SNP in October 2012 over their decision to support NATO membership and has represented the region as an independent MSP since then.

His decision gives the Greens three MSPs in the Scottish Parliament, though Mr Finnie will retain the independent label until elections in 2016. The party are hoping for ten or more in the 2016 Holyrood elections, as well as seeking to make inroads to Westminster at the UK general election next year.

Patrick Harvie MSP, co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party, said: “The Green MSPs have found much to work on with John Finnie since 2012, when he left the SNP and joined the group of Greens and independent MSPs at Holyrood, and it gives me great pleasure to know he’ll be working with us from now on as a member of the Scottish Greens. Even before the SNP’s decision to support membership of a nuclear alliance, it was clear that he shares a commitment to Green values, and I know he will be a credit to the Scottish Green Party at Holyrood. The Scottish Greens have seen an unprecedented surge in membership over the last month. To be able to tell Conference this morning that John is the latest of those new members is therefore an extraordinary privilege.

“John’s decision to join the Scottish Greens comes at an excellent time. As a country, as a Parliament, and as a party, we face significant challenges on austerity and inequality, on further devolution, and on building a just low-carbon economy. Working alongside him we will aim to make a real difference on all those issues, to hold both governments to account, and to campaign for an stronger Green group at Holyrood after May 2016.”

John Finnie MSP commented: “I would like to thank the Scottish Greens for my welcome to the party today, which has been warm, generous, and enthusiastic. I’ve been a Green all my life; I just didn’t know it. Working and campaigning alongside Greens, I’ve seen that my values are Green values: social and environmental justice, democracy and integrity, internationalism and peace. Receiving my membership card today feels like a homecoming.

“I have no ill will towards the SNP, a substantial minority of whom voted with me to oppose NATO membership. But the project of building a fairer and more sustainable Scotland isn’t the exclusive property of one party, or even any group of parties, and I would urge others who share my views to take the next step and join the Greens as I have done.

"I’ll continue to sit as an independent MSP for the rest of this parliament, voting for the manifesto commitments I stood on, and voting with my conscience and judgement in all other votes, as I have done since becoming an independent. I’ll be putting my name forward to be selected as a Green candidate for the Highlands and Islands for 2016, a decision which will be for the local branch to make,” he concluded.

* More from Ekklesia on Scotland and the referendum: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/scottishindependence

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