Scottish Government must not retreat on equality

Patrick Harvie MSP urges the new First Minister not to backtrack on LGBTQ+ rights and equality.

The Scottish Government must not backtrack on LGBTQ+ rights and equality, says Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Mr Harvie said:

“The Scottish Greens have been clear that we acknowledge the SNP’s right to form a minority government, but we’ve been equally clear that the First Minister must quickly give a signal of the direction his government will take.

“Yesterday that signal came pretty clearly - progressive ministers sacked, and the second most powerful job in Government given to someone who has opposed LGBT people’s legal equality, who has expressed judgemental attitudes to abortion, and who has even expressed the view that people who have families without being married are doing something wrong.

“Is this the Scottish Government’s vision for the future of Scotland - taking us back to the repressive values of the 1950s?

Mr Harvie then called for the new First Minister, John Swinney, to reaffirm his support for progressive taxation to invest in public services, climate action and tackling child poverty.

Mr Harvie said:

“I’m not yet sure that the First Minister acknowledge or understands just how worried many LGBT people and others are in Scotland at the moment.

“It’s not only equality and human rights that are at stake here; the new Deputy First Minister has explicitly criticised the role of fairer, progressive taxation.

“Making sure that people on high incomes pay their fair share is the only way that the Government has been able to afford investment in climate and nature, cheaper public transport, or the Scottish Child Payment. Without fairer tax policies, which the Greens repeatedly had to push the SNP into supporting, these things couldn’t have happened.

“Next year, whether it’s the Tories or the Labour Party, we know that the UK Government will continue with austerity, imposing deeper cuts than ever on Scotland.

“Does the First Minister accept that continuing on the path of progressive taxation will be more important than ever? Will that progress continue, or will the First Minister give in to the right wing of his party?”