Election 2015 Scotland

Election profile: The Scottish Green Party

Patrick Harvie at conference backing independence
Image caption The Scottish Green Party campaigned for an independent Scotland ahead of the 2014 referendum

The Scottish Greens are fielding candidates in 32 of the 59 Scottish constituencies at the 7 May election. Here, the BBC's Andrew Black looks at where it all began for the party.

Walk the halls of the UK's parliaments and council buildings and you'll find Green politicians an increasingly common occurrence.

The movement may still be awaiting a big breakthrough, but much of its success so far has been put down to the early trailblazing efforts of the Scottish Greens.

Rewind to 1999, and Robin Harper became the UK's first Green parliamentarian, after winning a seat in the Scottish Parliament.

His fedora hat, multi-coloured scarf and comparisons to Doctor Who (of the Tom Baker era) seemed to go down well with voters, and that - along with a degree of voter disillusionment - saw the party win seven seats in the 2003 Holyrood election.

Expanding their policies beyond the environment, the Greens took on such issues as opposing ID cards and attacking the practice of dawn raids on families of failed asylum seekers.

But the 2007 Scottish poll saw the party cut back to two MSPs, amid the voting squeeze brought on by the fight for power between the SNP and Labour.

Post-election coalition talks with the SNP came to nothing, and later - feeling they were being taken for granted - the Greens withdrew their support for the minority government's budget, causing it to fall, before being passed on the second attempt.

Parliament also passed a Green bill enacting laws to tackle hate crimes against gay and disabled people.

The 2011 election saw the number of Green MSPs remain at two, but with the charismatic Patrick Harvie installed as the party's figurehead, it played a prominent role in campaigning for Scottish independence.

Determined not to be manhandled by the SNP as part of the "Yes Scotland" movement, the Greens challenged the nationalists' vision in several key areas - notably eschewing a pound-sharing deal in favour of a new Scottish currency.

Like the SNP, the Scottish Greens also received a post-referendum membership boost, and say now they have established themselves as a credible alternative voice in politics.

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