The Scottish Green party has rubbished claims made by a Sunday Herald journalist who said that the party had formally decided not to join the Yes Scotland campaign for Scottish Independence.
The article, written by journalist Tom Gordon, entitled ‘Greens walk out on the Yes campaign’ contained a claim by Mr Gordon that the Scottish Greens had “formally decided not to join” Yes Scotland.
However questions were raised over the journalist’s claims almost immediately when a statement appeared on the Scottish Green website that made it clear that no formal decision had in fact been taken.
According to the official statement, the party will not make a formal decision until October when delegates meet at their conference.
Co-convener of the Scottish Greens Patrick Harvie has also made several tweets denying the Herald article claims. In one tweet Mr Harvie says: “Not leaving – quite the opposite. Actively seeking involvement. Frustrated that it remains an SNP vehicle.”.
Responding to questions posed by Newsnet Scotland, Mr Harvie, confirmed that, contray to the Sunday Herald article, no formal decision had been taken by the party.
The Green MSP for Glasgow, re-asserted his wish to be part of a broad Yes Scotland campaign and added:
“We’re very frustrated that greater progress has not been made in broadening Yes Scotland into an inclusive organisation.
“At this point it remains a wholly SNP controlled entity, but we hope that this will change and that we will be able to recommend to conference that we participate as full members.”
Meanwhile, the SNP has challenged the No campaign to agree to tight rules on donations in advance of its launch later this month.
It has been proposed that donations over £500 should only be accepted from individuals on the electoral register in Scotland. The move means that neither campaign could accept donations from companies or trades unions.
The involvement of these organisations would be limited to the 16-week period before the referendum, the time at which they would be legally required to register as a permitted participant in their own name and submit details of their spending to the Electoral Commission.
With the referendum for an Independent Scotland not due until 2014, neither organisation is legally bound by the rules governing donations or where a donor is based.
The proposal would see a framework put in place, with donations of over £500 only accepted from eligible voters living in Scotland.
Yes Scotland has already enforced a £500 maximum donation limit through its website to ensure that donations over this amount cannot be made without establishing whether or not the individual is on the voters roll in Scotland.
SNP Campaign Director Angus Robertson said:
“The campaign must be driven by those able to vote in the referendum. Above all, we want to see fair play and transparency.
“This referendum is about Scotland’s future and it should not be unduly influenced by significant donations from those who won’t have the vote.
“We would hope those saying ‘No’ to the people of Scotland having the political power to decide what’s best for their own country, will at least say ‘Yes’ to committing to a fair and open campaign.
“While everyone is welcome to join the debate, including the London based leaders of the anti-parties, that is as far as external input or influence should extend.
“We are working on the same basis as for UK elections and referendums, where it was decided, quite rightly, that only those on the electoral register should be allowed to donate to political parties. The same approach should be followed for this Scottish vote.
“There is a place for corporate and trades union donations, but these must be on a separate and transparent basis, and conform to the restrictions that will be put in place by the referendum legislation on permitted participants.”