Page last updated at 07:25 GMT, Tuesday, 23 September 2008 08:25 UK

Scottish Green leader stands down

Robin Harper has been an MSP since 1999
Robin Harper has been an MSP since 1999

Veteran MSP Robin Harper has decided to quit as co-leader of of the Scottish Green Party.

The Lothians MSP became the first Green parliamentarian when devolution happened in 1999 and is Scotland's longest serving party leader.

The 68-year-old, who will stand down in November, called on the party to consider appointing a single, overall leader in future.

Mr Harper said he would stand down as an MSP at the next election.

He stressed he was not retiring just yet, but added: "I would dearly love to spend more time with my wife, and for that matter with myself, I expect to see few changes to my lifestyle for the moment.

"It is a great honour to serve my party, and I intend to continue to do so in a wide variety of ways.

"The politics and economics of the future must be green if we are to survive and thrive, living imaginatively and productively within our ecological means."

The Scottish Greens have traditionally opted for a male/female co-leadership under their equal rights policy - but Mr Harper said it was time to consider opting for a single "Scottish Green leader".

The move would leave the door open for the only other Green MSP, the highly ambitious Patrick Harvie, to take over.

In the wake of the English and Welsh Green parties opting for a single leader, Mr Harper added: "I feel we should at least have a discussion in the Scottish Green Party about moves in this direction well before the next election."

This story was originally published on Saturday 13 September when Mr Harper stood down. It has been republished due to a technical problem.

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