ROBIN Harper has resigned as a member of the Scottish Greens as he believes it has "lost the plot" as a party.

The Green party’s first UK parliamentarian said he was concerned about their stance on independence and trans rights – and quit in a letter to co-leader Patrick Harvie that was sent to the Times newspaper.

The 82-year old served as a Lothians MSP between 1999 and 2011, and wrote that he thought the party had been "moving into the gap left by the socialists".

He added: "The question of independence came into sharp focus for me when I was invited to join the group 'Our Scottish Future', with whom I have since been active.

"The video I recorded for them, which you will find online, sums up my intention to fight any attempt to needlessly destroy the United Kingdom.

"You will also be aware of my serious concerns about the way we are handling the situation with the trans community."

He added: "I am aware that former colleagues and friends in the SGP may be sorry - and even offended - by my decision to resign from the party and I apologise for not attempting to speak up within the party before coming to this decision.

"Nevertheless, I believe that if the Scottish Green Party wishes to retain the respect of the nation, it needs to approach its task with a more constructive mindset and a willingness to co-operate.

He added: “It goes without saying that I remain, as I have been all my life, a passionate champion of the environment."

A spokesperson for the Scottish Greens said: "We thank Robin for what he has done both within Parliament as the first ever Scottish Green MSP and outside it as a tireless advocate for the environment. 

"Our party has always been committed to social and environmental justice as well as to independence. With Scottish Greens now in government, we are turning long held policies such as free bus travel for young people, investing in restoring Scotland's natural environment, and a cap on rent rises into reality. This is delivering what Robin and others could only have wished for back in the early days of devolution.

"Independence and human rights, including the rights of trans people, are at the core of our vision and have been since our party was founded over thirty years ago. Our commitment to that vision has seen us achieve record result after record result in recent elections.

"The climate crisis will be the defining environmental issue for this generation and all future generations. It is only by building on this green change that we can deliver a fairer, greener and better future for Scotland."