ENVIRONMENT: Patrick Harvie enjoyed six-day foreign jolly for two-day conference in Rome

Italy wasn’t enough for Green Minister Patrick Harvie who also wanted to enjoy London, Paris and the green fields of France. No wonder he is smiling.

By Lucy Ashton

Patrick Harvie enjoyed a six-day jolly for a two-day conference in Rome, it has emerged. The Scottish Green minister attended a European Regional Meeting in October last year, clocking up a bill of nearly £2,500 in the process.

The Scottish Daily Express is reporting that Patrick refused to travel by plane as he looked to highlight his environmental credentials. But that meant what could have been a short trip was extended to almost a week.

In a Freedom of Information request, the Scottish Government confirmed the Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights spent a night each in London, Paris and Basel as well as three nights in the Italian capital. The government said he travelled at the weekend due to “ministerial business” in Paris on October 8.

It also claims weekend travel was “necessary” to make sure he made it to Rome on time to meet with the Co-Chair of OGP’s International Steering Group, the UK OGP Steering Group and chair of the OGP Criteria and Standards Committee on Monday, October 10.

All in, the Dumbarton man, who is a list MSP for Glasgow, clocked up 6,412 miles of travel with the trip being funded by the Scottish taxpayer. A Scottish Conservative MSP has now questioned the length of the trip, saying he would have been better flying.

Stephen Kerr MSP claimed that the Scottish Government want their independence bill to be rejected
Stephen Kerr MSP reckons the trip should have been shorter

Stephen Kerr, whose office submitted the FoI request, told the Scottish Daily Express: “The Scottish Conservatives support our nation’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions. We also believe in being responsible with Scottish taxpayers’ money.

“Taking six days to travel for a two-day conference, with taxpayers’ funding both travel and accommodation expenses, shows that the Scottish Greens, supported by the SNP, are happy to spend your money on virtue-signalling initiatives. It would have been a better use of time and money for Mr Harvie to fly to Rome and pay the carbon-offsetting fee.”

Defending the spend in the FoI, the Scottish Government said the body “holds a sustainable travel hierarchy and travel strategy, as well as policies on the use of rail in preference to air”.

It added: “Ultimately, Scottish Government policy stipulates that what constitutes ‘other efficient travel options’ and what is considered ‘cost effective’ is a decision for Mr Harvie’s office.

“Given flying is roughly five times more polluting than travelling by rail, a business decision was taken to travel via train.

“Furthermore, time spent on a train is not unproductive: indeed, the longer uninterrupted duration on a train may well be more beneficial to working than taking a shorter flight, and the train invariably takes the traveller directly into a city centre, eliminating connecting journeys from an airport.”

Top picture: Rome was also on Patrick Harvie’s trip round Europe at the taxpayers’ expense.



  1. Typical roughing it at public expense. Having a laugh in fact.

    Two day conference, six day trip, it’s all part of the lush it up behaviour that is so ubiquitous.

    Now, maybe the Democrat would like to do a bit about billionaire Sanjeev Gupta, the Serious Fraud Office, and a certain £568 million guarantee given by the Scottish Government.

    It’s all a bit of a secret. The Scottish Government refused to respond to a Financial Times Freedom of Information request despite the Government knowing it was wrong to not release the information requested.

    Commercial in confidence they said.

    Well like like Ferry Scandal we’ve heard commercial in confidence.

    Or more locally the give away of 36 acres of public land to Flamingo Land. Another Scottish Government commercial in confidence secret (but anecdotally understood to be little more than nothing.)

    Or the elected SNP grandees who together with Scottish Enterprise officials attended a luxury property development funded conference in Cannes, France. Just another wee junket to a billionaire’s playground.

    I don’t think we know a quarter of the troughing and pocket lining that’s going on in our Scottish government.

    Blue Tories, Yellow SNP (and tag on Green’s), they’re all the same.


    1. I know it’s not the done thing around here to rough up the local council or the elected members who sit on it, but I don’t understand why people who meet me in the street and shake their heads at the state we are in here don’t write comments about how they feel about this. Maybe they think that (like me) they will shunned by the Council. Why don’t they get stuck in over the many scandals such as the ones above? And, of course, drop us a line when they believe the Council has achieved something the public actually wants, not daft ideas like painting the street outside Dumbarton Central Station. Does the fact that we seldom get letters from people who are content with the public services they receive tell you anything? We pay them £300 of council tax ten times a year and they won’t even talk to me. Before tax that £3,000 amounts to about £80 a week and then they go and throw public money around like a Friday night drunk on the scatter.

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