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MSP joins Greens

ONE OF the seven list MSPs representing Shetland as part of the Highlands and Islands region has announced he is joining the Scottish Greens.

John Finnie, who left the SNP earlier in this parliament over the issue of NATO membership, said he would continue to sit as an independent MSP until the next election in 2016.

Finnie received a standing ovation at the Greens’ party conference in Edinburgh, with leader Patrick Harvie commending his record as “a champion of civil liberties”, including his recent success in reversing the decision to deploy armed police on routine duties.

The list MSP said the response had been “warm, generous, and enthusiastic” and that receiving his membership card “feels like a homecoming”.

His decision comes after working together with Green activists as part of the Yes campaign in the lead up to last month’s independence referendum.

“I’ve been a Green all my life; I just didn’t know it,” Finnie said. “Working and campaigning alongside Greens, I’ve seen that my values are Green values: social and environmental justice, democracy and integrity, internationalism and peace.”

He added that he would continue voting for the manifesto commitments he stood on for the remainder of this parliament, and would put his name forward to be selected as a Green candidate for the Highlands and Islands in 2016 – a decision which will lie with the local party branch.

Finnie was joined in exiting the SNP two years ago by Jean Urquhart, who also became an independent. The other five Highlands and Islands list MSPs are the SNP’s Mike Mackenzie, Labour’s Rhoda Grant and David Stewart and two Conservatives, Jamie McGrigor and Mary Scanlon.

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