THE SCOTTISH Conservatives have called for Greens MSPs to be stripped of their opposition privileges including a leader’s spot at FMQs – as a proposed co-operation deal with the SNP is set to be announced.
The leaderships of the Scottish Greens and the Scottish Government are understood to have agreed an arrangement which could see two Green MSPs hold ministerial roles for the first time in UK politics.
Despite the arrangement, still subject to a vote by Greens members, falling short of a formal coalition, the Tories have written to Holyrood’s presiding officing, requesting Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie no longer are given an opposition leader’s spot at First Minister’s Questions.
The Conservatives’ chief whip, Stephen Kerr, has written to the presiding officer requesting the change, as well as requests that the Greens no longer receive opposition debate slots known as ‘party business’ and no longer receive opposition spokesperson responses to a ministerial statement – pointing to the fact they are joining the Scottish Government.
Mr Kerr said: “It would make a mockery of the Scottish Parliament if members of the government were allowed to tee up Nicola Sturgeon with waste-of-time queries to help her run the clock out at First Minister’s Questions.
“Proper opposition scrutiny of the SNP-Green government is essential. How will softball questions from Patrick Harvie, drafted in Nicola Sturgeon’s handwriting, hold the government to account?”
He added: “The Greens can’t have their cake and eat it. Now that they’re officially forming a nationalist coalition of chaos, they can no longer even pretend to be an opposition party. That would undermine Scottish democracy.
“We have formally started proceedings with the Scottish Parliament and presiding officer to remove the Greens from their position at FMQs, in line with the precedent set by the Labour-Lib Dem government.”
The leaders of the SNP and Greens are expected to announce their co-operation agreement this afternoon ahead of Greens members voting on the arrangement next week.