#SGPConf: Leading Greens in Britain & Ireland commit to campaigning to re-join the EU

Leading figures from the Green movement in Britain and Ireland are to commit to campaigning to re-join the European Union, in the event the United Kingdom does eventually leave.

Steven Agnew MLA, the leader of Green Party Northern Ireland, will join with politicians from the Scottish Greens in signing an agreement that is highly critical of the UK government’s handling of Brexit, particularly on the issue of the border in Ireland.

The agreement commits signatories to “immediately begin campaigning” for Scotland and Northern Ireland to re-join [the EU]”, in the event that the UK does leave the EU, meaning Green campaigners in Scotland would be free to campaign for an independent Scotland to become a full EU member state or, in the event that Scotland is not yet independent, for the UK to re-join.

Buoyed from winning its first seat in the West of Scotland in 2016, Ross Greer MSP will open the Scottish Greens' Spring conference in Greenock on Saturday (17 Mar) with a message that his party is “leading the change in Scottish politics” by protecting local services.

Also speaking on the day, Green Party Northern Ireland leader Steven Agnew MLA will say there can be no hard border either on the island of Ireland or between the two islands.

“If the UK government is earnest in its insistence that there will be no hard border on the island of Ireland, then there is no getting around it – we must remain in the Customs Union,” Agnew said.

“This may upset the Prime Minister and the DUP, but a necessary consequence of leaving the Customs Union would be a hard border and the sooner they face this reality, the sooner we can all move on.

“Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU by a majority of 56% to 44, and we need to have a deal that reflects that.”

The Scottish Greens’ Europe spokesperson Ross Greer MSP said:

“Greens have long been committed to cooperation, partnership and internationalism and the European Green movement has shown this in its solidarity and cooperation over Brexit.

“We have been at the forefront of the campaign to keep Scotland and the UK in Europe. So while other parties tear themselves apart over the issue, or undermine their own internal democracy in an attempt to avoid an open debate at their conference, the Green movement on these islands is taking a positive step forward together, ensuring that if the Tories’ Extreme Brexit is successful, we are in a position on day one to lead the campaign for the UK to recommit to the European project, and to a people’s Europe."