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Forbes and Regan reject Ross claims of ‘discussions’ with SNP rebels

The Bute House Agreement has come in for criticism by some in the SNP.

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Douglas Ross

Two former SNP leadership candidates have rejected claims by Douglas Ross that he has spoken to party rebels about bringing down the Bute House Agreement.

The Scottish Tory leader reportedly said on Monday, during the UK party’s conference in Manchester, that he had spoken to nationalist MSPs about potentially voting with his party against the deal between the Government and the Scottish Greens.

The deal has been criticised by some within the SNP, most notably the recently-suspended party stalwart, Fergus Ewing.

Kate Forbes and Ash Regan, who missed out on the leadership in an often terse contest earlier this year, have also been among those sceptical of the agreement.

Mr Ross said he has had “discussions” with SNP backbenchers, and pointed to an interview with Ms Forbes in The Herald newspaper on Monday expressing frustration about the Government’s approach to the Highlands.

But on Tuesday, Ms Forbes strongly denied taking part in talks with the Tory leader.

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, she said: “Douglas ‘Three Jobs’ Ross hardly spends any time in Scot Parl or speaking to his own party colleagues.

“Which is only one of the many, many reasons why I’ve never said more than a passing hello to him since he was elected.

“Conference hyperbole compensating for a failed Tory Gov.”

Ms Regan said: “Constructive dialogue within @theSNP is essential for growth; but let’s be very clear: the future of our party, and of Scotland itself, is too important to be swayed by backroom talks with those who don’t share our vision for an independent nation.”

Scottish Tory MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston said: “Douglas very deliberately, and rightly, did not name the SNP figures who contacted him.

“However, I would urge all of those in the SNP who are alarmed at the malign influence the extremist Greens are having on Scotland to work with the Scottish Conservatives and others to help remove them from government.

“It’s no good someone like Kate Forbes complaining about the SNP-Green coalition betraying our Highland constituents, if she’s too obsessed with independence to work with us to do something about it.”

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