A former senior policy adviser to the Scottish Government has announced his backing for the Scottish Greens ahead of the European elections.

Writing in the Courier newspaper, Alex Bell, who advised Alex Salmond during his time as First Minister, suggested that Scotland needs a “Green surge” to ensure the country’s voice is heard in the face of Brexit.

It follows the endorsement of the Scottish Greens by the Sunday Mail and Outlander actor Sam Heughan.

In a column, Mr Bell said that voters should take the opportunity to send a message to the largest parties that they must “take the planet seriously” and urge politicians to declare a climate emergency.

He wrote: “In keeping with all European elections, its effect will be to say something about the state of domestic affairs. Which is why I shall be voting Green.

“If you are a nationalist and worried about disloyalty, then the Greens are pro-Indy. If you are a unionist, then an EU vote is no mandate for indyref2.

“What’s more, the Greens are steadfast Remainers. We have to change profoundly if we are to adapt to climate change, and we need to say that loudly.

“Even if the protest is lost on Brussels, then our scream will be heard in Holyrood and Westminster. Thirty years on from the last Green surge, we need another, for all our sakes.”

Maggie Chapman, the Greens’ co-convener, is standing as the party’s lead candidate for the European Parliament election.

Lorna Slater, Gillian Mackay, Chas Booth, Mags Hall and Allan Faulds comprise the full list of candidates.

Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer welcomed the endorsement from Mr Bell.

“It’s great to have yet another prominent voice get behind our EU elections campaign,” said Mr Greer.

“This is the most important European election we’ve ever faced, it’s vital that we elect Scotland’s first Green MEP to work in tandem with our European neighbours and tackle the climate emergency.”