Scottish Greens and SNP coalition: parties form coalition Scottish Government in ‘historic’ power-sharing deal
It is the first time any Green representative has held political office in a government in the UK
On Saturday (28 August), it was confirmed that the Scottish Greens will join the SNP to form a coalition Scottish Government.
Confirmation came as Scottish Greens party members voted in favour of the deal, described as a “historic” powershare with “transformational” policies.
The deal will see Scottish Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater become government ministers.
1,169 Scottish Greens members (83%) backed the deal, 234 voted against and nine abstained, some proxy voted have still to be counted.
The Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie stressed that there are still a number of areas the SNP and Scottish Greens do not agree on, but the “progressive” deal protects MSPs and “allows them to retain their distinct voices and identities”.
Following a two-hour debate and extraordinary general meeting (EGM), support for the deal was announced and Harvie said there “could not be a more important and more urgent moment for Greens to enter government and take green politics to the next level”.
He told the PA news agency: “I’ve been going along to Green Party meetings since childhood, I’ve been part of this movement for a very long time and it is a real moment of privilege and responsibility to be taking green politics to the next level as part of the Scottish Government.
“I’m very excited to be able to show what green politics will be like in practice and I think we have a transformational programme from housing, to public transport, to renewable energy and much much more.”
He added: “One of the critical features of this agreement, unlike some of the coalitions that we’ve seen elsewhere, is that it marks out very clearly that there is space for both political parties to retain their distinct voices and identities.
“There are many issues where the Greens and the SNP don’t agree. The ability to continue to speak out on those issues is protected.”
The deal allows the parties to publicly disagree on 10 areas - aviation policy, green ports, direct financial support to businesses involved in the aerospace, defence and security sectors, field sports and the economic principles related to concepts of sustainable growth and inclusive growth.
However, during the debate Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer insisted that the list of subjects could be changed if further agreements or disagreements emerge. It is not clear whether this will be implemented.
Following the deal, which will be confirmed on Monday, Nicola Sturgeon referred to the coalition as delivering a “transformative” policy programme.
This includes an agreement to pursue another vote on Scottish independence before the end of 2023, despite Boris Johnson and Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack refusing to give UK government permission.
Sturgeon said she is “delighted” with the deal and looks forward to working towards a “greener, fairer, independent Scotland.”
“This historic agreement will provide a strong platform for the transformative programme we want to deliver,” she added.
“We will work collaboratively to support a fair recovery from Covid, address with urgency the impacts of the climate emergency, and give the people of Scotland a vote on independence.”
Meanwhile, Ms Slater said the Scottish Greens - which she joined in May 2021 - have “always been a constructive opposition in Holyrood”.
She said the party will work to “implement rent controls in Scotland, create a new national park and really accelerate the development of our renewable energy industry so we will make a significant change in the next five years.”
The coalition was formed after Sturgeon’s party missed out on winning an overall majority in the May parliamentary elections by just one seat.