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Nicola Sturgeon confirms Green party co-leaders will join Scottish Government

Scottish Green Party co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater arrive at Bute House
Scottish Green Party co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater arrive at Bute House

Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater will serve with the First Minister in the SNP-led government as part of a powersharing agreement.

The deal, which was negotiated over the summer after the SNP fell one seat short of an overall majority in May’s election, was announced on August 20 and has since been backed by the ruling party’s national executive committee.

A shared policy platform was published which the two sides agreed to support, with the Greens also pledging to back the Scottish Government in confidence votes and annual budgets – if they have sufficient input into the process.

The Greens have now confirmed their co-leaders will be the ones appointed as ministers.

Who are the Green MSPs?

Mr Harvie, a Glasgow MSP, is a long-serving member of the Scottish Parliament. Ms Slater was elected for the first time in May, marking a remarkable rise to a position of power in government from the fourth smallest party in Holyrood.

They will hold broad portfolios, with one position responsible for decarbonising homes and transport and the rental sector, while the other will focus on green skills, the energy industry and the natural environment.

The Scottish Government will announce who will take each portfolio next week if the deal is confirmed.

We’ll waste no time getting to work to deliver on this transformative agenda.

– Patrick Harvie

Mr Harvie, who has been in Parliament since 2003, said: “With Greens in Government we would be able to deliver positive change like tackling Scotland’s emissions, protecting nature, advancing tenants’ rights.

“Bringing forward overdue equalities legislation and delivering an independence referendum.

“I am proud of our vibrant party democracy and look forward to discussing and debating this deal with members on Saturday and if they back it, they can be assured that we’ll waste no time getting to work to deliver on this transformative agenda.”

Nicola Sturgeon, flanked by Green MSPs, announcing the deal last week.

Ms Slater said: “The time has come for Scotland to step up efforts to decarbonise our economy and invest in a greener, independent future.

“The co-operation agreement we’ve negotiated would put Greens at the heart of decision making at this crucial time and if our members endorse it then I look forward to driving change in Government.”

The pair will be the first Greens to enter government in UK political history.

The deal’s only remaining hurdle comes on Saturday, when Green members are given the final say. The party’s internal rules state that if the membership rejects the agreement, it cannot go ahead.

The Scottish Conservatives have again voiced their opposition to the deal, describing the Green co-leaders as “extremists”.

‘Extremists’

Tory Covid recovery spokesman Murdo Fraser said: “Nicola Sturgeon is handing extremists key positions in Government. The more details that emerge, the worse this nationalist coalition of chaos looks for hardworking families and workers across Scotland.

“MSPs who don’t believe in economic growth, who actively want to limit Scotland’s economy, are apparently going to be Government ministers.

“Neither Patrick Harvie or Lorna Slater should be anywhere near key financial decisions that will impact jobs and businesses.

“Their growing influence is a danger to our oil and gas industry and the 100,000 jobs it supports. The Greens seek to undermine the future of the North Sea sector at every turn, and Nicola Sturgeon is giving them a bigger platform to do that.

“It’s a real worry that an anti-jobs duo may have a regular seat at the Cabinet table, while businesses are shut out from the decision-making process.”

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