SNP MP calls on Greens not to stand in Tory target seats

Tommy Sheppard has urged the Scottish Greens not to contest battleground constituencies where the Conservatives have a chance of winning.

Wednesday, 26th April 2017, 8:58 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:47 pm
Tommy Sheppard has called on the Greens not to field candidates in battleground seats. Picture: Neil Hanna/TSPL

The SNP MP for Edinburgh East warned the Greens that they risk splitting the pro-independence vote by putting up candidates in seats that the Tories are actively targeting.

Speaking to The National, Mr Sheppard said: “I know the Greens will want to stand some candidates but I also know they have never stood everywhere. So they are going to have to choose.”

He continued: “They will want to stand some candidates as they are a national party and will want to put their case to their base, but in deciding which seats to contest and not to contest I think they should be mindful of not splitting the pro-Yes vote and certainly not splitting the anti-Tory vote.”

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Mr Sheppard added he did believe the Greens should stand in Edinburgh South where Scottish Labour’s only MP in Scotland, Ian Murray, faces a battle to keep his seat.

The Scottish Greens are currently running their biggest ever council campaign, with a record 219 candidates standing in May’s local authority elections.

In the upcoming general election on 8 June, the party have hinted that they may not fight in some marginal seats including Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, the seat of the Tories’ only Scottish MP, David Mundell.

Last week, the Scottish Greens co-convener Maggie Chapman said she would be “quite happy for us [Greens] to support non-Green candidates if it meant getting Tories out of Scotland and making sure we had elected representatives who walk the walk of the politics of the new Scotland we want to see,”

Mr Sheppard’s comments come after a new poll found that support for Scottish independence has not risen since Theresa May’s bid to block a second referendum.

Last month First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was dealt a blow when Theresa May announced “now is not the time” for a second referendum on Scottish independence. Sturgeon had predicted support for an independence Scotland would rise following the move by Westminster.

The Scottish Greens are expected to decide on General Election candidates and which constituencies to stand in after the local elections.