DAVID Mundell’s campaign for re-election has been dealt a blow after the Greens opted not to put up a candidate to contest his seat, a move which reduces the risk of the pro-independence vote being split.

The SNP’s Mairi McAllan will be the sole candidate running in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale (DCT) who backs Scottish independence. Members of the Dumfries and Galloway branch of the Scottish Greens decided not to contest the seat when they met earlier this week, with the Borders and South Lanarkshire branches, which also lie in the constituency, following suit.

Last night the Scottish Greens announced they are fielding just three General Election candidates in Scotland as part of a targeted campaign to elect Patrick Harvie.

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The Glasgow MSP and party’s co-convener wants to become Scotland’s first Green MP, standing in Glasgow North, it’s national target seat. Lorna Slater is standing in Edinburgh North and Leith while Debra Pickering is the Green candidate for Falkirk. The party will not endorse any other candidates in areas where no Green candidate is standing.

Scottish Secretary Mundell was the sole Conservative MP elected in May 2015, though buoyed up by their success in last week’s council elections when they overtook Labour to become the most dominant party behind the SNP in local government, leader Ruth Davidson has high hopes of getting as many as 15 Westminster seats next month.

The SNP are countering the challenge and determined to fight back against any Tory surge in areas such as Moray, where deputy leader Angus Robertson is defending his seat.

Mundell held DCT two years ago with a majority of just 728 votes ahead of the SNP’s Emma Harper. The Scottish Greens stood but came sixth with just 839 votes and lost their deposit.

Afterwards the Greens were criticised by some for standing against the SNP and perhaps inadvertently helping Mundell.

The Scottish Greens also announced yesterday they will not contest seats in Dundee and Angus.

Gord Matheson, co-convener of Dundee and Angus Greens, said: “We did stand candidates in Dundee in 2015, but this is no normal election. The Prime Minister has called this snap election in a cynical and opportunistic attempt to gain a mandate to push through a hard Brexit that we know will be damaging to Scotland. We think this nakedly partisan move is detrimental to our politics and our democracy, and does not reflect the kind of behaviour we wish to see from our politicians in Scotland.”

Caitlin Meldrum, co-convener of the branch, added: “We will continue to campaign with all those who, like us, want Scottish politics to focus on delivering the kind of future we want for our communities.

“We want a Scotland that welcomes immigrants and refugees, and that stands for peace. We reject the Tory Government’s approach to Brexit, its austerity and privatisation agenda that marginalises and demonises some of our most vulnerable people and puts our public services at risk, and its disregard for the views of people in Scotland.

“We encourage our members and supporters to vote on June 8, and to vote for the candidate they consider to be closest to our commitments to social, economic and environmental justice, peace, equality, and to ensuring Scotland’s voice is heard.”

Unionists have been highly critical of the Scottish Greens for not standing in key seats with the Tories accusing them of “propping up the SNP”. “The propping up of the SNP is embarrassing and a complete disservice to their voters. Quite simply, they might as well not exist,” said Murdo Fraser.

Scottish Labour’s campaign manager James Kelly said: “Patrick Harvie has only decided to stand in Glasgow North himself in a desperate attempt to prove he really isn’t just a backbench SNP politician.”

Harvie was elected as an MSP on the Glasgow list last year, finishing second in the Scottish Parliamentary seat Glasgow Kelvin, which overlaps with Glasgow North. The SNP’s Sandra White took the seat. Green councillor Martha Wardrop topped the poll in the Hillhead ward in the constituency last week. The Greens recorded their best result in Edinburgh in the Edinburgh North and Leith constituency in 2015.