Green Party set to take 10 seats from Labour in next year's Scottish Parliament election

The party is fighting for third place against the Conservatives

Click to follow

The Green Party is on course to take ten seats from Labour in next year’s Scottish Parliament elections, a new poll shows.

The left-wing environmentalists will increase their MSP count six-fold from two to 12 if a new poll conducted by Survation is repeated on 5 May.

The Greens are polling 11 per cent in the proportional representation list vote for the parliament, up from 4 per cent at the last round of elections in 2011. They are fighting for third place with the Conservatives, who are on 12 per cent.

Labour are just ahead of the two parties of 19 per cent, down from 26 in the previous round of elections. The SNP are far ahead on 45 per cent.

According to a seat projection by the Scotland Votes website the Greens would gain seats at the expense of Labour, with the other parties roughly stagnant. Ukip could also win a seat in the parliament for the first time.

Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green MSP for Lothian, said the party was ready to step up to play a bigger role in the devolved parliament.

“Polling isn’t a prediction but given the consistent numbers we’re seeing, there’s a clear opportunity to elect many more Green MSPs to represent Scotland’s communities,” she said.

“The Scottish Parliament needs a main opposition party that is constructive yet challenging. The Scottish Greens have been a clear voice on so many issues, from the economy to local democracy and from football club ownership to fracking. We are ready to step up to a bigger role.”

The poll was conducted by Survation for the Daily Mail newspaper.

The new figures highlight the difficulty for Labour as it picks new leaders across the UK and in Scotland itself.

Figures from the Blair era have urged the party to adopt more right-wing policies in a bid to attract Conservative voters – but becoming too conservative could see the party lose even more votes to more progressive forces.

The Scottish Greens are a separate party from the Green Party of England and Wales, though they have close relations and share many policies. They support Scottish independence.

Because the party  supports independence, there have been suggestions that people voting SNP at the constituency level - where the party dominates even more heavily - are voting Green on the party list.

The Scottish Parliament's electoral system means that this approach would maximise the number of pro-independence MSPs in the devolved parliament.

The Scottish Green Party's two current MSPs are Patrick Harvie and Alison Johnstone. John Finnie and John Wilson are both members of the party but sit as independents, having been elected as SNP MSPs.