Scotland politics

General election 2017: Scottish Greens launch manifesto

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionPatrick Harvie unveiled the manifesto in Glasgow

Scottish Green MPs are needed to help safeguard social and environmental protections, the party has said as it launched its election manifesto.

The Greens will only have three candidates standing on 8 June, including co-convener Patrick Harvie.

As he launched the manifesto, Mr Harvie said the Conservatives were planning to rip up many of the protections that had been achieved within the EU.

He claimed that this would "literally put people's lives on the line".

The Scottish Greens fielded 32 candidates in the last general election two years ago, but failed to win any seats in the House of Commons. They currently have six seats in the Scottish Parliament.

'Green industrial revolution'

The party has insisted that its decision to only stand in three seats this time around was not influenced by senior SNP figures calling for the Greens to avoid "splitting" the pro-independence vote in key constituencies.

Its manifesto promises that any Scottish Green MPs will:

  • Stand against a "Hard Brexit" and for Scotland's right to choose its own future
  • Push for a new, Green "industrial revolution", which it says could create more than 200,000 new jobs in Scotland by transitioning from unburnable fossil fuels to clean, green industries
  • Work for a social security system which treats everyone with dignity, underpinned by a universal basic income to stamp out poverty

Mr Harvie said a huge number of the social and environmental protections which have been achieved within the European Union will be transferred to the UK after Brexit.

But he said the Conservatives were openly calling for a "bonfire" of many of these regulations.

Mr Harvie warned: "This will literally put people's lives on the line.

"Greens led the way in achieving much of what's now at risk, from capping bankers' bonuses to controlling toxic chemicals. We need a Green voice to stand up for these protections.

"We also need a Green voice to oppose the UK government's cuts agenda and its failure to invest in the new, sustainable economic future we need."

Mr Harvie, who is hoping to become the first-ever Scottish Green MP, will be standing in the Glasgow North constituency.

The party is also fielding candidates in the Edinburgh North and Leith seat, and in Falkirk.

Mr Harvie insisted: "We are running a tightly-focused campaign, giving Scotland the best chance it has had to send a Green voice to Westminster.

"We are making the case no other party is for the sustainable, fair and decent society we know this country can become."

Image caption Willie Rennie (left) and Marty McFly

But the Scottish Conservatives branded the Greens as "pathetic", and claimed that Mr Harvie "wants to help the SNP cling on to as many seats as possible".

Conservative environmental spokesman Maurice Golden said: "The Scottish Greens have been exposed as an SNP mini-me party. The Scottish Conservatives are the only party which will stand up to the SNP at this election - not cave into them.

"We are also the only party in Scotland which this year has set out clear plans to support the environment. That's a prospectus we're happy to set out to people right across Scotland."

'Rolled over'

Scottish Labour's environment spokeswoman, Claudia Beamish, said the country did not need "Green MPs who stand aside for the SNP".

She added: "No one can take the Greens seriously after they rolled over and let the SNP cut £170m from schools and local services in the last Scottish budget.

"The Scottish Greens have given up any pretence of being concerned with the environment or austerity first and foremost - for them it is Scottish nationalism first and everything else a distance second."

Image caption SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was campaigning in Moray on Monday morning

Elsewhere on the election campaign trail, the SNP pledged that its MPs would work to "stop Tory cuts to pensions and public services" in the next parliament.

The party said its manifesto, which will be unveiled on Tuesday, would set out an alternative to austerity that would see an additional £118bn invested in public services.

This would include protecting the triple lock on pensions, stopping cuts to the winter fuel allowance and delivering extra investment for the NHS, for social security and other vital public services.

And Scottish Liberal Willie Rennie was in South Queensferry, where he used a DeLorean car to attempt to recreate the iconic poster for the Back to the Future movie.

Mr Rennie also resumed his attack on the SNP over the state of Scotland's public services, arguing that government ministers had "taken their eyes off the ball".

He said: "It is back to the future with the SNP and their relentless campaign for another divisive referendum on independence. They are distracted from the day to day business of government.

"The SNP manifesto needs to cancel the divisive independence referendum so that the SNP can finally turn their attention full time to Scottish public services."