THE Scottish Greens are aiming to run in more seats at the next General Election than in 2019, its leaders have said.

The last General Election saw the pro-independence party put up candidates in 22 constituencies.

While the first-past-the-post system means the Greens are highly unlikely to win a seat, the presence of a party candidate on the ballot paper could affect the arithmetic in tightly-contested constituencies.

READ MORE: Free school meals expansion helps feed record number of children in 2023

Scottish Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater spoke to press shortly before the Christmas recess at Holyrood.

The National:

Asked if the party is trying to beat its previous record for General Election candidates, Slater said: “We’re a growing party.

“We’re very successful in every election we go into. We will aim to stand more candidates than before and in more seats than before.”

Slater (below) said the exact number of candidates will be decided at branch level rather than by the party’s head office.

The National: Party co-leader Lorna Slater speaking at the Scottish Green Party conference at the Stirling Court Hotel in the grounds of the University of Stirling. Picture date: Saturday March 12, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story SCOTLAND Greens . Photo credit should

On where the party’s focus will be, she said: “Rather than trying to pick a particular seat or something like that, we need to make sure that we have as much as possible and in as many places as possible, a Green in the room who’s going to make sure that Green values – the climate, social justice – are brought to the fore.

READ MORE: Ministers criticised over number of babies born with substance dependencies

“What we’ve found in other elections is that unless there’s a Green at the table, nobody mentions climate change, very few people mention equalities matters.”

Harvie (below) said polling currently shows many people are “heartily ready” for a change in the UK Government but are unsure on Keir Starmer’s offer.

The National: The future of the power-sharing deal between the Scottish Greens and the SNP is set to be determined, Patrick Harvie said. (Jane Barlow/PA)

If Labour wins, he said, there is a chance for a “more functional” relationship between Holyrood and Westminster.

He said: “We’d like to maximise that chance. We’d like, for example, to see a UK government that supports our ambitions on renewable energy.”

Slater said election competition between the SNP and the Greens will not fundamentally affect the Bute House Agreement, where the two parties work together in the Scottish Government.

She said the parties can have “grown up” disagreements, adding: “We are different political parties with different priorities and the General Election is our chance to set that out to the people of Scotland, and next year we will do that.

“Yes, we’re going to stand against each other. Yes, we disagree on these items.

READ MORE: Kate Forbes 'working on building faction in SNP', Green co-leader claims

“But none of that changes the fact that we care very much about child poverty. We care about creating green jobs, making the energy transition, we care about investing in the future of Scotland.”

The Scottish Greens recently came to heads with the SNP over the party’s proposed council tax freeze, as the party reportedly was not aware of the decision until shortly before the First Minister made the announcement at the SNP conference last October.

The party’s co-leaders previously told The National the announcement “was not handled well” as they expressed their “deep frustration” with a lack of reform.

Tensions peaked at the annual Scottish Greens conference, where party members narrowly voted down a motion which would see ministers voting against a council tax freeze, effectively ending the Bute House Agreement.