Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie has joined the Scottish Green Party.
Mr Finnie was welcomed with a standing ovation in Edinburgh yesterday – at what the party expected to be its largest ever conference.
Mr Finnie left the SNP in October 2012 over the matter of NATO membership. He has represented the region as an independent MSP since then and will continue to sit as an independent MSP for the rest of this session of the Scottish Parliament.
“I’ve been a Green all my life; I just didn’t know it,” said Mr Finnie.
“Working and campaigning alongside Greens, I’ve seen that my values are Green values: social and environmental justice, democracy and integrity, internationalism and peace.”
He thanked the Scottish Greens for his welcome, which he said was “warm, generous, and enthusiastic”.
“Receiving my membership card today feels like a homecoming,” he said.
“I have no ill will towards the SNP, a substantial minority of whom voted with me to oppose NATO membership.
“But the project of building a fairer and more sustainable Scotland isn’t the exclusive property of one party, or even any group of parties, and I would urge others who share my views to take the next step and join the Greens as I have done.
“I’ll continue to sit as an independent MSP for the rest of this parliament, voting for the manifesto commitments I stood on, and voting with my conscience and judgement in all other votes, as I have done since becoming an independent.
“I’ll be putting my name forward to be selected as a Green candidate for the Highlands and Islands for 2016, a decision which will be for the local branch to make.”
Patrick Harvie MSP and co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party, said: “The Green MSPs have found much to work on with John Finnie since 2012, when he left the SNP and joined the group of Greens and independent MSPs at Holyrood, and it gives me great pleasure to know he’ll be working with us from now on as a member of the Scottish Greens.
“Even before the SNP’s decision to support membership of a nuclear alliance it was clear that he shares a commitment to Green values, and I know he will be a credit to the Scottish Green Party at Holyrood.”
Mr Finnie was elected in 2011 as an SNP list MSP for the Highlands and Islands region.