THERE are “problems” with focusing the next General Election campaign solely on Scottish independence, Lorna Slater has said.

The Scottish Greens co-leader told the Holyrood Weekly podcast that the UK Government’s refusal to engage with existing mandates for independence and the First Past the Post (FPTP) electoral system will cause issues for the SNP’s strategy.

She added that many people will use the ballot box to “vote strategically”, making the outcome a “very unsatisfactory democratic exercise”.

Fellow co-leader Patrick Harvie agreed and noted that many voters in Scotland, and the rest of the UK, will likely vote tactically to remove the Tories from Number 10.

READ MORE: Holyrood Weekly: Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie ahead of party conference

Speaking to The National’s podcast ahead of the party’s conference in Dunfermline, the co-leaders were asked for their assessment of the SNP’s independence strategy.

SNP members backed Humza Yousaf and Stephen Flynn’s motion that the party winning the “majority” of seats at the next General Election would trigger independence negotiations.

“I feel very frustrated by the fact that this debate has now kind of focused on the next General Election,” Slater (below) said.

“I think there's two big problems with that.

The National:

“One is the UK Government has for years ignored the mandate that we have in Scotland for another referendum.

“We have elected pro-independence majorities to Holyrood repeatedly, we've sent pro independence majorities down to Westminster repeatedly.

“The UK Government has ignored that mandate.

“And the other thing is it's a first-past-the-post electoral system, so not very democratic people end up voting strategically instead of voting for what they want.

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“So both of those things make this a very unsatisfactory democratic exercise.”

Harvie agreed, adding that the next election would be primarily focused on removing the Tories from office.

He said: “I think that it's inevitable for many voters in Scotland, as well as other parts of the UK, the next UK election might for them be principally about getting rid of the Tory Party, giving them the electoral drubbing they very clearly deserve.

“I think if you do see the kind of tepid New Labour-lite pale imitation of change, coming from Sir Keir Starmer’s administration afterwards, I think the contrast between that, and this compelling, optimistic vision of what an independent Scotland could be, about what it could be for, that contrast will become increasingly clear.”

The National:

However, Slater insisted that every Labour candidate in Scotland should be asked if they will “respect the democratic right” of an independence referendum.

“Because really, what is Anas Sarwar scared of?” she said.

“I'd be happy to start campaigning for independence tomorrow.

“I believe in independence, I can make a good case for it, I can show how being an independent country within Europe would be great for our young people, great for our economy.

“We could build the kind of fairer, greener, more Scandinavian style economy that we know we want to do – that’s the vision that we have.

READ MORE: Salmond: Scots must have 'credible' independence path to believe in

“Why are the Unionists excited to speak for the Union?”

Both co-leaders argued that putting forward a positive case for an independent Scotland is the key to securing independence.

Despite criticism of the Bute House Agreement in recent months, which Slater insisted came from “very predictable quarters”, the Greens have been “polling higher than ever” and could return their highest number of MSPs at the Scottish Parliament elections in 2026.

“And I think that's because our message is resonating,” Slater added.

“We want to build a Scotland that welcomes refugees, we want to build a Scotland where people have warm, affordable to heat homes, we want to build a Scotland where public transport is efficient and affordable, and that's a vision that people can get behind.”

The National:

Asked if he believed the focus had been too much on process, Harvie (above) added: “Nobody that you knock on the doors of really cares about how it says you engineer the circumstances for a referendum.

“And frankly, if you manage to engineer the circumstances for a referendum, but you haven't convinced them to vote for it yet, then you haven't achieved very much.

“So we need to continue to recapture that spirit of inspiration that I remember so strongly from 2014 and the run up to it.”

Episode 7 of Season 2 of the Holyrood Weekly podcast is available on The National’s website, Spotify and the Omny streaming platform.