Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, will today (10 Oct) tell party members at their biggest ever conference that they face an unprecedented election opportunity.SGPconf brochure cover

Opinion polls suggest Green MSPs will be elected across Scotland's eight regions at the Scottish Parliament election in seven months' time. Party membership stands at 9,000 compared to 1,700 before the independence referendum.

This weekend's conference at the SECC in Glasgow is expected to attract around 700 members.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"We have an unprecedented opportunity to make real progress next year. With our surging membership and strong polling we can run a campaign like nothing we’ve ever managed before, and deliver a record number of Green MSPs.

"We will campaign on our track record and our vision of a fairer, greener Scotland. We’ve been at Holyrood since the start and we've got transformational ideas onto the agenda.

"We've helped cut fuel bills by pushing for energy efficiency programmes, we've empowered local communities with the Climate Challenge Fund, we're giving football fans the prospect of ownership of their club, and we're a step closer to gaining rent controls to protect tenants from spiralling costs.

"And on unconventional gas extraction we have relentlessly pursued ministers to protect our communities. Scottish Greens should be proud of the role we have played and we can offer voters in May a clear choice of opposing extreme energy industries.

"Holyrood needs a bold voice to ensure we close the wealth gap, build strong local economies, restore truly progressive taxation and start meeting our world-leading climate change targets. Scottish Greens are trusted, credible and our time is now."

At today's conference Alison Johnstone MSP will introduce the other lead candidates for next year's election. They are:

-John Finnie MSP, Highlands and Islands
-Maggie Chapman, North-east
-Councillor Mark Ruskell, Mid-Scotland and Fife
-Kirsten Robb, Central
-Ross Greer, West
-Sarah Beattie-Smith, South

Alison Johnstone MSP is lead candidate for Lothian region and will also contest the Edinburgh Central constituency; Patrick Harvie MSP is lead candidate for Glasgow region and will also contest the Glasgow Kelvin constituency.

Other speakers at conference include Green MP Caroline Lucas, STUC boss Grahame Smith, food poverty campaigner Jack Monroe and the government's former chief medical officer Harry Burns.