The Scottish Greens today (11 Jan) revealed that they expect to stand candidates in more Westminster constituencies than ever before, in part due to the recent surge in membership to almost 8,000.

Edinburgh East is the Greens' top target constituency in Scotland with university rector Peter McColl the party's candidate. Edinburgh has a strong Green activist base, and has had MSPs since 1999 and councillors since 2007.

With all but a few local branches having selected candidates, it looks likely that the Scottish Greens will stand in around 30 of Scotland's 59 constituencies. In 2010 the party stood in 20 seats.

A new survey of the Scottish Green party membership also reveals:

-One in ten members was previously a member of the Labour party.
-Over a third are aged under 30.
-A common theme from those who joined following the referendum is a desire for bold action to create a more equal society.

Greens are regularly polling ahead of the Libdems across the UK, with recent results as high as 9 per cent.

The "Green Surge" in membership to almost 8,000 has resulted in dozens of new local groups being set up across Scotland, and is mirrored by the Green Party of England and Wales who now have over 30,000 members.

Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said:

"The Green Surge means we're in a great position to campaign in more parts of Scotland than ever, making the case for bold action to create a green and more equal society. We look forward to campaigning in key constituencies such as Edinburgh East on issues including a higher minimum wage and public ownership of the railways.

"The other parties' unedifying scramble for tactical votes makes a mockery of democracy when there's clearly a growing desire to vote for policies and people you can believe in. The positive track record of Caroline Lucas in Brighton shows that electing a Green MP gets results."

Peter McColl, Scottish Green candidate for Edinburgh East, said:

"The Westminster election is shaping up to be a race to the bottom on who hates foreigners and people on benefits most. I, and the other Green candidates, will fight to make sure that the politics of equality and fairness are at the heart of the debate in this election.

"With Greens likely to play a greater role in this election than ever before, we will be working hard to make sure that our message on social and environmental justice is heard loud and clear."