Shropshire Star

UK’s first ever Green parliamentarian joins Labour Party

Robin Harper said the General Election was a ‘now-or-never opportunity to remove the Tories from power’.

Robin Harper enters the Scottish Parliament while wearing a dark jacket and a multi-coloured scarf

The UK’s first-ever Green parliamentarian has joined Labour – with Robin Harper insisting Sir Keir Starmer’s party is the “only party with a plan for combating climate change”.

Mr Harper, who has been campaigning for Labour in Edinburgh South in the run-up to next month’s General Election, said the vote was a “now-or-never opportunity to remove the Tories from power”.

He said: “Only Labour is able to do this across the UK and only Labour has a plan to halt environmental destruction.”

Mr Harper was the UK’s first-ever elected Green parliamentarian when he became an MSP for the Lothian region in 1999, representing the region at Holyrood until 2011.

He served as co-convener of the party in Scotland between 2004 and 2008, but left the Greens in 2023.

Shadow Scotland secretary and Labour candidate for Edinburgh South Ian Murray described Mr Harper as being “one of the most respected parliamentarians of the devolution era”.

Mr Murray added: “His decision to join the Scottish Labour Party demonstrates that we are the only party with a clear plan to deliver on Scotland’s green potential.

“At this election, only a vote for Scottish Labour is a vote to remove the Tories from power, and I’m delighted that Robin is helping our campaign to make sure we get the Tories out and deliver the change Scotland needs.”

Mr Harper, in a letter being sent to voters in Edinburgh, said: “I desperately want to see the back of this Conservative government, who have crashed our economy, degraded our political life and failed to tackle climate change.

“The SNP, and until recently their Green coalition partners, have also failed to take action on the environment.

“John Swinney has failed to rule out supporting new oil and gas licences and the SNP have rejected Labour’s calls for a windfall tax on record oil and gas profits.”

Mr Harper continued: “Labour is the only party with a plan for combating climate change and harnessing the potential of the green industrial revolution.

“Our plans for GB Energy, a publicly-owned energy company, will deliver clean energy by 2030 and, with our Warm Homes Plan to insulate thousands of homes, will create 69,000 jobs in Scotland alone.”

The former MSP added: “Investment in renewable energy would be paid for by a windfall tax on the oil and gas giants making record profits during a cost-of-living crisis, something that the SNP oppose.

“This election provides us with a now-or-never opportunity to remove the Tories from power and end the chaos, failure and inaction that has marked their 14 years in government.

“Only Labour is able to do this across the UK and only Labour has a plan to halt environmental destruction.”

A Scottish Green spokesperson said: “Labour have abandoned their key promise of £28 billion a year in climate investments, doubled down on nuclear power and nuclear weapons, and backtracked on workers’ rights.

“None of these are core green values, so it is really disappointing and sad that Robin has chosen to compromise on those.”

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