The Scottish Greens are aiming to run in more seats at the next general election than in 2019, its leaders have said.

The last general election saw the pro-independence party put up candidates in 22 constituencies.

While the first-past-the-post system means the Greens are highly unlikely to win a seat, the presence of a party candidate on the ballot paper could affect the arithmetic in tightly-contested constituencies.

Some in the SNP fear Scottish Green candidates could split the pro-independence vote and allow pro-union opponents to win.

An SNP councillor recently voiced such a fear about the Moray seat.

The Herald:

Scottish Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater spoke to the PA news agency shortly before the Christmas recess at Holyrood.

Asked if the party is trying to beat its previous record for general election candidates, Ms Slater said: “We’re a growing party.

“We’re very successful in every election we go into. We will aim to stand more candidates than before and in more seats than before.”

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She said the exact number of candidates will be decided at branch level rather than by the party’s head office.

On where the party’s focus will be, Ms Slater said: “Rather than trying to pick a particular seat or something like that, we need to make sure that we have as much as possible and in as many places as possible, a Green in the room who’s going to make sure that Green values – the climate, social justice – are brought to the fore.

“What we’ve found in other elections is that unless there’s a Green at the table, nobody mentions climate change, very few people mention equalities matters.”

The Herald:

Mr Harvie said polling currently shows many people are “heartily ready” for a change in the UK Government but are unsure on Sir Keir Starmer’s offer.

If Labour wins, he said, there is a chance for a “more functional” relationship between Holyrood and Westminster.

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He said: “We’d like to maximise that chance. We’d like, for example, to see a UK government that supports our ambitions on renewable energy.”

Ms Slater said election competition between the SNP and the Greens will not fundamentally affect the Bute House Agreement, where the two parties work together in the Scottish Government.

She said the parties can have “grown up” disagreements, adding: “We are different political parties with different priorities and the general election is our chance to set that out to the people of Scotland, and next year we will do that.

“Yes, we’re going to stand against each other. Yes, we disagree on these items.

“But none of that changes the fact that we care very much about child poverty. We care about creating green jobs, making the energy transition, we care about investing in the future of Scotland.”