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Scottish Greens to hold vote on future of powersharing agreement at Holyrood

The party will hold an extraordinary general meeting, after the Scottish Government ditched a climate change target.

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Bute House

The SNP’s powersharing agreement at Holyrood could be under threat, as the Greens announced they will hold a fresh vote on the future of the deal after the Scottish Government ditched a key climate change target.

The Scottish Green Party said the result of the vote, to be held at a  forthcoming extraordinary general meeting (EGM), would be binding on the party.

The date of the meeting will be announced in due course, but Greens also said they have told the SNP about the ballot.

Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie said when that takes place he will be urging members to vote in favour of the deal, so the party could “put Green values into practice” in government.

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, he said “many” members had been calling for an EGM to discuss the future of the agreement.

But Mr Harvie said: “As part of the Scottish Government, we’re making a difference on a far bigger scale than ever before.”

It comes less than three years after the Bute House agreement, which was voted for by members of both parties, brought Greens into government for the first time anywhere in the UK, in August 2021.

The deal, named after the First Minister’s official resident in Edinburgh, crucially gave the SNP a majority in the Scottish Parliament when its votes there were combined with those of the seven Green MSPs.

But prominent figures in Humza Yousaf’s party, including former SNP  leadership candidate Kate Forbes and party stalwart Fergus Ewing, have criticised it.

Greens had appeared more reluctant to question the agreement, which gave ministerial posts to the party’s two co-leaders, Mr Harvie and Lorna Slater.

However Green councillor Chas Booth said there was “anger” among party members after the SNP Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan announced on Thursday that the Scottish Government was abandoning its commitment to cut emissions by 75% by 2030.

Meanwhile the Rainbow Greens, the party’s LGBT wing, criticised the announcement the same day that the prescription of puberty blockers for new patients under the age of 18, at the gender identity service at the Sandyford Clinic in Glasgow, would be paused.

As the Greens confirmed a fresh vote would be held Ms Slater said: “The intention, as a democratic party, is to give members the opportunity to debate and decide how the party moves forward.”

She added that the meeting would give Greens the chance to discuss “how we continue to build on the progress we have made on our manifesto commitments and to deliver our vision of a fairer, greener Scotland”.

 Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan
Patrick Harvie (centre) and Lorna Slater (left) were beside Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan when she announced the Scottish Government was ditching the emissions target (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Ms Slater said: “We have achieved more for people and planet in the past 32 months than other parties have in decades.

“Now we want to hear from our members on how they want us to continue this progress.”

She added: “Our party is rich in talent and determined voices, including campaigners and activists, councillors and MSPs, which is why the Tories, Labour, big polluters, greedy corporate interests and right-wing media commentators are so determined to try and have us fail.

“They fear the progress we have made on making big polluters pay, on rent protections, free bus travel for young people and record levels of spending on climate and nature, and they hate having a pro-independence majority in government at Holyrood.

“Not everything in politics is easy, as we have seen over recent years, months and days, but our strength as a green movement is in standing up against those destructive forces who would set fire to everything we have achieved if given half the chance.”

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