May 22, 2024

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Collapse of the power-sharing agreement between the Scottish National Party and the Scottish Greens

Collapse of the power-sharing agreement between the Scottish National Party and the Scottish Greens
  • Written by Mary McCall and Craig Williams
  • BBC Scotland News

Video explanation, Scottish Greens say end of power-sharing shows SNP 'caving in to reactionary forces'

The First Minister has ended the power-sharing agreement between the Scottish National Party and the Scottish Greens.

The move follows the government's decision to scrap climate targets and temporarily stop prescribing puberty blockers to under-18s.

The Conservatives said they would hold a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Humza Yousaf.

That could come as early as next week, and Youssef faces calls for elections.

The SNP is now a minority government and will need to win the support of members of the opposition LGBT movement to get its platform approved by the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish National Party holds 63 seats out of 129 in Holyrood, two seats short of the general majority, while the Green Party has seven seats, the Scottish Conservatives 31 and the Labor Party 22.

The Speaker of Parliament is expected to support the status quo in the event of a tie.

Former Scottish National Party member Ash Regan now serves as a member of the ALBA party.

She is said to be writing to the First Minister outlining her concerns about the Scottish Government's priorities and asking whether there are areas where her party and the SNP can work together.

Alex Salmond, the former first minister and leader of the ALBA party, said Youssef had made Reagan “the most powerful member of the Scottish Parliament”.

“Future generations sold out”

The end of the Boat House agreement began with an early morning meeting between Mr Youssef and the co-leaders of the Scottish Greens, Patrick Harvey and Lorna Slater.

They were seen exiting Boat House – the First Minister's official residence in Edinburgh – ahead of an emergency Cabinet meeting.

First Minister Humzah Yousaf said he had formally notified Ms Slater and Mr Harvey that the agreement – ​​which the parties signed after the Holyrood election in 2021 – had been terminated.

The two Green politicians immediately left their junior ministerial posts, which they held in exchange for their party's support for the SNP-led government.

The Greens later said the SNP had “sold out future generations”.

Video explanation, Collapse of the power-sharing agreement between the SNP and the Greens

The First Minister's spokesman said Yusuf briefed his cabinet on the situation at 08:30 for an hour and that his colleagues “enthusiastically supported the situation”, banging on the table to show their support.

At a press conference later at Boat House, Youssef said he thanked his former colleagues for their contribution to the Scottish Government and made clear that the SNP intended to work with the Greens “where we can” and “in the national interest”.

He said, “The Boat House Agreement aims to provide stability for the Scottish government and has enabled a number of achievements to be achieved.”

“But it has achieved its purpose, as it no longer guarantees a stable arrangement in Parliament.

“The events of recent days have made that clear and therefore, after careful consideration, I believe it is in the interests of the people of Scotland to follow a different arrangement.”

Harvey had previously said he would resign as co-leader if the party voted to end the agreement, but on Thursday he said his position would be up for discussion for another day.

Speaking to reporters in the Parliament Garden foyer, Harvey said the First Minister's decision was a “complete turnaround from recent days”.

Asked whether the party would co-operate with the government in negotiating the next Holyrood budget, he replied: “Do you think the current government will remain in place for the next budget?”

Video explanation, Scottish Greens co-leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvey have seen Boat House leave.

In a strongly worded statement, Slater described the termination of the Boathouse agreement as an “act of political cowardice by the SNP” and accused the party of “selling out future generations”.

She also said she was confident Green Party members would have supported the party remaining in government if the vote had occurred.

She said: “Neither they nor members of the SNP will have that opportunity. Instead, the most reactionary and reactionary forces within the First Minister's party have forced him to do the opposite of what he himself said was in Scotland's interests.”

“By contrast, as co-leaders of the Scottish Greens we were prepared to put our political career on the line with our members, to defend our achievements in government, despite enduring everything that SNP members and others threw at us.”

The relationship between the two parties came to a head in the wake of Scottish National Party Energy Secretary Mairi MacAllan's announcement last week that Scotland's target of cutting carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels was out of reach and would be scrapped.

This angered many grassroots members of the Green Party.

Mr Harvey said there was “discontent” in the party over the move and that young trans people may “now not get the treatment they need”.

The First Minister said on Saturday that he appreciated the power-sharing agreement with the Green Party, adding: “I think we have achieved a lot together in government. I want to continue to achieve a lot.”

When asked if he could soon lead a minority government, Youssef replied: “I don’t think that will be the case.”

Image source, Twitter/Reuters

Comment on the photo, The First Minister with Green Party co-leaders Patrick Harvey and Lorna Slater

Speaking during First Minister's Questions on Thursday, MSP Greens sat quietly with their heads bowed as Youssef defended the government's bipartisan record.

Scottish Conservative Party leader Douglas Ross accused the First Minister of “panicing before the extremist Green Party could get rid of him” and said he would submit a vote of no confidence in the First Minister.

It is not yet known whether the Green Party will support Ross in the vote of no confidence, which will not take place until next week at the earliest.

Ross said that Yousuf “abandoned the platform on which he stood,” adding: “He claims that it is now a new beginning, but in reality it is the beginning of the end. Isn't Hamza Yousuf a lame prime minister?”

“Weak, divided and incompetent”

Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar said it was time to “end this circus” and called for an election.

“The challenges facing our country have never been greater, but Scotland’s government has never been so poor and its leadership has never been so weak,” he said.

“The people of Scotland can see that the SNP has lost its way: weak, divided and incompetent. It has put the party at the expense of the country.”

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have also said they want an election.

Mr Harvey told Parliament that the SNP could no longer rely on Green votes in Parliament, and asked Youssef who he thought was happier – Mr Ross, SNP rebel Fergus Ewing or Alex Salmond, the former SNP leader and first minister who leads… Now the Alba party.

He said: “Which of them do they think they can count on to get a majority in Parliament now?”

Video explanation, Decision-making power in Parliament “is in the hands of the ALBA party”.

Former SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes – an outspoken critic of the SNP-Greens partnership – said on To be elected as president. The wide tent represents the nation.”

She added: “Amid all the differing opinions in the Scottish National Party about this decision [the Bute House Agreement] From the Secretary of State, who some were delighted by and others were frustrated with, we would do well to remember our core aims: to serve the people of Scotland, end inequality, eradicate poverty, govern well and strive for prosperity, like other Indian nations.

SNP MP Joanna Cherry, another critic of the Boathouse agreement, said ending the deal was a “huge opportunity” to reset the SNP's agenda in government.

She posted on

Former Scottish First Minister and ALBA leader Alex Salmond said Humza Yousaf made ALBA Ash Reagan “the most powerful community movement in the Scottish Parliament”.

Speaking to the BBC after the collapse of the power-sharing deal between the Scottish National Party and the Greens, Salmond said the First Minister had succeeded in upsetting all the opposition parties in Holyrood.

Ms Regan, Alba's only LGBT member, is writing to the First Minister outlining her concerns about the Scottish Government's priorities and seeing whether there are areas where her party and the SNP can work together, ahead of any vote of confidence.

The Scottish National Government is not in a position to guarantee Youssef's victory in the confidence vote, which is likely to take place next week.

If all the opposition MSP join forces against the Prime Minister, he will lose.

Strictly speaking, this vote is not binding, but politically he would be forced to resign one way or another.

Parliament will then have 28 days to agree on a successor, if not early elections will be called.

How can Mr. Youssef avoid this scenario?

If the Greens calm down over the next week and choose to abstain rather than vote against it – or if any of the opposition MSP members can be persuaded to change their position.

The SNP has 63 MSP. Their opponents received 65 votes. A shift to government could result in a tie as the President (the equivalent of the Speaker of the House of Commons) would be expected to not support any change.

Alba MSP Ash Regan is expected to write to the First Minister outlining the terms of her support.

Without her vote, or at least two MSP members abstaining from voting or inaction, Hamza Yusuf's political survival will be in serious doubt.

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