THE LEADERSHIPS of the SNP and Scottish Greens have reportedly agreed a power-sharing deal – paving the way for Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater’s party to hold ministerial roles.
The deal is still subject to agreement by members of the Scottish Greens who will vote on the arrangement on August 28, while Nicola Sturgeon’s Cabinet were considering the terms this morning.
An announcement could be made this afternoon on the arrangement.
Under the agreement, it is thought two Greens MSPs could be named junior ministers in the Scottish Government.
After May’s Holyrood election, the SNP was one seat short of an overall majority – but with the Greens’ eight MSPs, the Scottish Government would have 72 seats in the Holyrood chamber and a majority.
Reports suggest that the Greens are happy to sign up to the majority of the Scottish Government’s policies but the agreement allows them to opt out of areas they disagree on.
The set-up has not been seen in the UK before but is based on the arrangement Greens have with Jacinda Ardern’s New Zealand government.
An email sent to members of the Scottish Greens earlier this month said a New Zealand model, which has seen Green Party MPs in that country take on ministerial portfolios while not being in an official coalition, is being considered by civil servants and Government lawyers.
With one more seat than it won in 2016, the SNP can no longer be outvoted by the 64 MSPs of all opposition parties combined, removing the threat of votes of confidence in ministers and repeals of SNP legislation that the party faced in the last parliament.
The First Minister has previously said a formal deal with the Greens was “potentially groundbreaking”.
The Scottish Government will see the deal with the Greens as a boost to their environmental credentials ahead of Glasgow hosting the COP26 global climate conference in November.
On Sunday, Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said the two parties had been “trying to finish off those last bits of discussion”.
Asked about the widely mooted co-operation deal, Mr Harvie resisted going into any details but told the BBC: “Everybody is very keen to know the outcome, I don’t think you have very long to wait.
“If we do agree something with the SNP it won’t be put into practice until our party members have had a vote … we’re trying to finish off those last bits of discussion.
“I hope very soon we’ll be able to publish something.”
But the Scottish Tories said Green “extremists” didn’t belong anywhere near power and the SNP had “lost the plot” if they thought businesses and workers would welcome the move.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “Scotland will suffer from this nationalist coalition of chaos.
“The SNP-Green government will be anti-jobs, anti-business, anti-families, anti-drivers, anti-oil and gas. Nicola Sturgeon failed to win a majority, so she needs a hand to ramp up the division and push for indyref2.”
Scottish Labour said the Greens would end up as SNP “lackeys”, with the country being run by “a tiny minority of political obsessives”.