Scottish Greens will ‘carry the can’ for SNP says Cole-Hamilton
On the first day of the new session of the Scottish Parliament, the Ms Sturgeon signalled her push a second vote had been strengthened after SNP ministers struck a “ground-breaking” power-sharing deal with the Greens. The co-operation agreement, which has now been endorsed by both parties, will see Greens form part of a government for the first time anywhere in the UK.
It has been brought about by the need to “try to do politics differently” to tackle big issues such as climate change, the recovery from coronavirus and the impact of Brexit, the Scottish First Minister said.
Ms Sturgeon, speaking as MSPs returned to Holyrood after the summer recess, added that the “key strand” of the co-operation agreement would be a second independence vote stressing it was fulfilling what she described as the “democratic mandate to let the Scottish people choose our own future”.
However, the UK Government said today they “would not change their mind” in refusing a second vote so quickly after the once in a generation referendum in 2014, which saw Scotland decide to remain part of the Union.
A UK Government source added: “Scottish Government ministers must be joking if they think independence will help Scotland’s economy recover from the pandemic.
The Prime Minister will fight “tooth and nail” for Scotland to stay in the Union
Ms Sturgeon is expected to confirm the second referendum after the pandemic is over
“A second divisive referendum should not be the priority currently, working together to defeat the pandemic and focusing on our shared recovery should be.
“To prioritise discussion of constitutional issues is an irresponsible and reckless distraction.
“We are strongest when we work together as one United Kingdom.
“Our position on a second vote has not changed but we will fight tooth and nail to show the UK is better together.”
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Mr Ross claimed that the Greens are a serious threat to Scotland’s economic recovery
Douglas Ross, Scottish Conservative leader said: “Yet again a divisive referendum has come first, as it always does with this government.
“Once again the SNP have got their priorities all wrong.”
Turning to the cooperation deal, the Tory MP and MSP branded it a “nationalist coalition with one overriding goal – separating Scotland from the United Kingdom”.
He insisted: “Trying to claim that this is not a coalition, that is quite simply a joke even by SNP standards.”
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The Scottish Tory-leader attacked Ms Sturgeon saying she has
Mr Ross said the deal had taken priority over the programme for government – the statement setting out the Scottish Government’s plans for the next 12 months, which is normally announced when MSPs return after the summer recess.
Express.co.uk understands the push for a second referendum will heavily feature in the Programme for Government, which will be delivered next week.
Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour leader, said: “This coalition agreement – for that is what is is – is just formalising the agreement from the last parliament where Nicola Sturgeon and the NSP hammer our public services with cuts and the Greens simply nod it through.”
He added: “This is no new government, this is not a clean start, this is a deal that more about the constitution, not the climate.
Mr Sarwar accused the deal being “more about the constitution than the climate”
“It’s about greater control for Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP, not co-operation.”
He stressed ministers should instead be focused on tackling issues such as unemployment, child poverty, the drugs deaths crisis and tackling the backlog that has built up within the NHS.
But the Scottish First Minister said: “The mandate for that is undeniable – between us, the SNP and the Greens hold 72 of the 129 seats in this Parliament and each one of us was elected on a commitment to an independence referendum.”
“The decisions that will shape our society and economy and our place in the world must be determined, democratically, here in Scotland and not imposed upon us, so often against our will, by government at Westminster.”
The agreement will bring the Green party into power for the first time in the UK
The First Minister stressed the agreement that has been reached between the two parties was not a full coalition, insisting that the SNP and the Scottish Greens would “retain distinct voices and independent identities”.
Despite this she hailed the agreement as “genuinely ground-breaking”, adding: “For the first time in UK politics, it will see Greens enter national government as ministers, working in a spirit of common endeavour, mutual challenge and collective responsibility to deliver for the people we serve.”
Under the deal, Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater will become ministers.
Mr Harvie will be Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights Minister while Ms Slater will take on the role of Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity.
Scottish Conservative Chief Whip Stephen Kerr
But the party will no longer be entitled to a weekly leaders’ question to the First Minister as the party enters government for the first time.
In a message to MSPs, Holyrood’s Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone said: “In my view, the nature of the co-operation agreement, which would see the two Greens co-leaders being appointed as junior Scottish ministers, removes their entitlement to a leader’s question at FMQs.
“It is, instead, my intention to allocate the Greens a backbench question in three weeks out of six and, further, to call them at question three in two of those six weeks.”
Scottish Conservative Chief Whip Stephen Kerr, who complained over the Greens slot at FMQs, said: “The Scottish Conservatives had strongly opposed the Greens’ attempts to have their cake and eat it.
“We rejected their efforts to game the system, as they sought to join the Government and somehow pretend to still be an opposition party.”
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