Resignation from the Scottish Green Party

I have resigned from the Scottish Green Party. My resignation letter can be read here and is outlined below.

Lorna Slater & Patrick Harvie MSP
Co-Leaders
Scottish Green Party
19b Graham Street
EDINBURGH
EH6 5QN

cc. Membership Secretary 18 December 2020

Dear Patrick and Lorna,

I am writing to tender my resignation from the Scottish Green Party with effect from Friday 18 December 2020.

For some time now, since I was admonished for attending a public meeting at Edinburgh University in June 2019, I have been saddened by the intolerance shown by some party members to an open and mature dialogue about the tensions and conflicts around questions of sex and gender in the context of transgender rights and women’s rights.

On Thursday last week it was made clear to me that if (as I was minded to), I voted for amendment 28 to the Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences) (Scotland) Bill, I would face complaints and disciplinary action leading to possible suspension, deselection or expulsion. On the evidence of the reaction to my attendance at the June 2019 public meeting, I took this prospect seriously.

I understand that the Scottish Green Party has a strong commitment to equalities and trans rights. However, some of the language, approaches and postures of the party and its spokespeople have been provocative, alienating and confrontational for many women and men.

It has become evident to me that the sort of open-minded public engagement I would like to see take place on this topic is incompatible with a party that has become very censorious of any deviation from an agreed line.

Put simply, I cannot operate in this kind of environment and Thursday’s vote and the discussions that took place around it were the final confirmation of that.

I remain committed to Green politics and will endeavour to work constructively with the Green Group in Parliament until dissolution. I also have important work to do on tenants’ rights, the climate crisis, land reform, local democracy and taking forward my European Charter of Local Self-Government (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill.

I wish you well in the May 2021 Elections.

Best wishes

Andy

34 thoughts on “Resignation from the Scottish Green Party

  1. This is such a shame Andy. I am not a member of the Green Party and it was appalling to see that Green MSPs voted against Johann’s amendment to change to word ‘gender’ to the word ‘sex’ and put the feelings of males above the dignity and privacy of women to have their examination carried out, at this devastating time, by a female clinician. You have my support in your decision but it is dreadful that the Party is so entrenched that discussions cannot even be had.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear this. It’s a sorry day for the Greens that their alienating, confrontational stand on gender matters has lost them such a great campaigner. Someone whose integrity and sense of justice was clear to all.
    Since a Green conference two years ago, I’ve been a miserable member, feeling unrepresented, silenced and too cowardly to do much about it but keep my head down. I applaud your courage and clarity.

  3. Sorry to hear you have resigned. I fully understand your frustrations that are shared by many. I wish you well but hope you can secure a seat somehow as our parliament need people of your ability.
    Best wishes.

  4. It is not you that has resigned from the Scottish Green Party, it is the Scottish Green Party that has resigned from the environmental movement for a place at the dining table as the SNP’s lap dogs – a long, long, time ago.

    Good luck for the future.

  5. Well done Andy, thank you so much for standing up for women’s rights. I am all for equality but not when it takes away the protection of others.

    1. I agree with you Susanne, Women’s Rights should not be compromised, we fought for too long to have our voices heard and for the protections we have for them to be swept away on unsubstantiated whims posing as ‘equality’.

  6. Seems sad that it has come to this but if the Green Party wants to have any
    meaningful role in the soon to be reborn Scottish nation they will have to sort themselves out. As always Andy Wightman is a voice for reason and tolerance.

  7. Hi Andy,
    I am sorry you have been put in a position where sticking to your principles of open, clear and reasoned debate means you have to resign from your party.
    I hope you retain your seat (should you decide to stand) so you can continue the land and tenancy reforms you have worked so hard to implement over the years.
    I doubt your resignation from the SGP will be met with many other positive expressions of support and you should brace yourself for abuse, bullying, threats and cancellation from those who reject debating any other rights than Trans Rights.
    On that note I wish you all the best for the future and look forward to hearing one day that your land reforms work have made it to the statute book.
    Kind Regards

    Andrew MacGregor
    LD cllr in Devon

  8. You are a good man of undoubted integrity and probably you should have taken a firm stance sooner on this matter. Your ex-party looks set to receive quite a number of indignant vocal gender woowoo refugees from the recent long overdue righting of the good ship SNP (good in its membership I mean, not, regrettably, in its leadership), so you are wise to have left now.

    Wish you well as an independent next May. Cultivate good relations with ISP, they have some well grounded people there and I think they will do well. They need input on land reform.

  9. Well done Andy it’s a pity when the core Principles of a party become a side show where smaller issues become the party line, the Green party first and foremost should be 100% around changing Planet Oil to Planet Green at a local, national and international level… instead of becoming “the” party of gender politics… I see this in my own party as well, small groups that feel marginalised right or wrong they push themselves into power to change the proper discussion and narrative…

  10. Thanks for this, Andy. I know this must be a very difficult and painful moment for you, but I think you are acting honourably and in a principled way. I hope the Green Party will do some serious reflecting on how they position themselves on this question.

    You probably don’t remember, but I wrote to you a few days before this vote, urging you to support the amendment. I was rather disappointed by your reply, but I can see now that you were struggling with the conflicting demands of party loyalty and rational conscience. I’m glad that reason and conscience won out in the end.

  11. I am sorry to hear that. FWIW I think you are right on this issue.

    I am though a bit surprised that you resigned because of the possibility of complaints and disciplinary action leading to possible suspension, deselection or expulsion. Getting complaints is surely par for the course for any Green parliamentarian (and you have been complained against and even sued before), and resigning because of possible expulsion / deselection seems a bit self-defeating for me. So I guess I wish you had voted for the amendment, but on the other hand I can understand when you feel that there are other issues for you to work on (your land reform stuff is so good), and this fight would have been a huge distraction.

  12. Dear Andy

    I am a Green Party member and have been very active in various campaigns. I have regarded and continue to regard you as an inspirational force in Green politics. I am immensely saddened by the events which have led to you resigning from the party and equally sad that you felt the need to take that action.
    I am considering seriously whether I can remain a party member but for now only want to express my thanks for all you have done to date and my support for your position in seeking to promote mature debate.

    With best wishes
    John Short

  13. Absolutely with you on this, Andy. The stifling of grown-up public debate on this, as on any other topic, can only be detrimental to true equality.
    It also, it seems to me, is yet another distraction from the most essential debate of our times: the fact that the rich continue to screw over the poor, and are doing so more overtly and shamelessly than ever.

    1. Exactly right. So much of what takes up peoples’ – and the media’s – attention is designed to distract from the essential issue of wealth and power distribution.

      Well done Andy.

  14. Dear Andy, I agree wholeheartedly with your position.
    Everywhere there seems to be a seriously dangerous anti-intellectual undercurrent in debate. Whether it be sex/gender discussusion or what constitutes ‘anti-semitism’, the tendency seems to be to kow-tow to voices which are strident but which are not open or rational.
    I have supported you (in your recent defence of a ridiculous defamation action) and I support your position on tenancy rights (especially in the present crisis – a crisis for some… but which bypasses others better financed!) I am a member of the SNP (although I have criticised many of my party’s positions and inactions – largely on environmental/wildlife issues), so I sympathise with your position.
    I do hope you will still be in our Parliament after May 2021.
    I look forward to meeting you sometime.
    All the very best,
    Greg McShane

  15. Hi Andy, I had the great pleasure of sailing with your sister Morag on Sailing Barge Ironsides under Skipper “Dypso” Tower at one point. Please consider joining the Labour Party ; the great draw back this past 40 years of so many “Green” minds focusing their efforts on the “Green Party” has meant that there are fewer of us within the Labour “Church” to try and transform policy and green “the unions”; its arguable Ed Miliband achieved as much as anyone with the Climate Change Act and we need a broad church here; please consider that option.

  16. A very brave decision but people understand how you are not comfortable in a party of zealots who have lost all sense and reason in their desire to appear relevant. Civil discourse should be the cornerstone of our democracy not slogan and pronouncements on how we much think and act. I hope you are able to find a home for your vast skill and abilities as we are fortunate to have someone of your calibre and integrity in Scottish politics and Scottish society in general.

  17. Andy,

    I am totally pissed off that you feel that you have to resign. I saw you speak at Hen Harrier in Grantown in 2018 and you were inspirational. My wife and I supported your legal claim over the ridiculous Wildcat legal case and we greatly admire your work on raptor persecution and land reform. I joined the Greens after the Mountain Hare campaign that this year gained so much more protection for an iconic wild species. We Greens are now so much more worse off because you are not on board when we need your intellect and wisdom over land reform etc etc.
    This transgender row has largely passed me by but it is obviously polarising and also anti democratic and very destructive to the core environmental issues that we have to try and solve.
    My wife and me just still wish you were a member of the Scottish Greens cause we need you. I am an old fart 62 years of age so what do I know except that I have seen many sectarian ideas destroy progressive movements in my lifetime and the transgender row feels like another one, meanwhile the planet burns.

    Stay strong Andy,

    Craig and Iris, Newtonmore, Highland

  18. Real shame to see you go Andy. Good for you for being principled enough not to just continue on when you feel that the party are acting inappropriately.

  19. Sorry to hear this Andy. I hope you can stay in as an independent in the next parliament. I’d vote for you. 🙂

  20. Sorry to hear this Andy. I hope you can stay on as an independent in the next parliament. I’d vote for you. 🙂

  21. It is a great shame that political parties feel the need to enforce the party line in every case. no two people in the world will every agree on everything so why force people to vote against their will or believes or what they think is best for their constituents. thank you for your stance and wish you all the best in the future

  22. Dear Andy, please do stay as an MSP, we need people like you. The trans gender debate so often seems to coincide with a curbing of free speech, a pity. However, the desperate climate situation over-rides all other issues, and if the Green party is going to remain relevant, it had better focus on that!

  23. Dear Andy,
    I have for years followed with admiration your work promoting equable ownership and land reform. The Greens have lost a valuable MSP. I am an SNP supporter.
    I write as a retired medic who has in the past been directly involved with trans patients and know the complexities, so not your usual Joe. The Bill as proposed was anathema to me. Having tried and failed to open a conversation with (SNP) Elected Members I am aware of the entrenched positions.
    Crudely, if I was a woman in a refuge I would be appalled to share it with a man who that morning decided to self-identify as a woman !
    My admiration now extends to you sticking to your principles on this subject.

  24. I sincerely hope you stand as an independent or – if you feel that’s not a viable option – for another party (though I don’t know if there are any that are currently sufficiently open to internal and external debate). I think your expertise and experience and good sense are essential to Scottish politics and that you are the most valuable MSP we have.

    I’m not surprised you’ve resigned. I didn’t even last two years as a member of the Green Party for similar reasons. It’s a crying shame that the Scottish Greens have been hijacked by identity politics but you cannot stand for a party which is so intolerant, whatever the issue.

    Good luck with everything you’re doing.

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