Patrick Harvie reveals Greens' 'transformational' plans for Scotland
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Members of the Scottish Greens have backed an agreement for the party to join the Holyrood government alongside the Scottish National party. The landmark deal between the SNP and the Scottish Greens will lead to Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater becoming Government ministers – the first time in UK history any Green candidate has held a seat in Government.
Mr Harvie and Ms Slater will hold two separate positions, with the former becoming Minister for zero carbon buildings, active travel and tenants rights, and the latter being Minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity.
Green co-leader Ms Slater said: “The time has come for Scotland to step up efforts to decarbonise our economy and invest in a fairer, greener future.
“There’s no time to waste and I’m looking forward to start work on our transformative agenda in the coming days.”
Mr Harvie added: “I am delighted that our party members have given their support to this historic co-operation agreement that will see Greens enter government for the first time in Scotland, or indeed anywhere in the UK.
“With Greens in government, we will be able to deliver positive change for the people of Scotland.”
The deal comes after Nicola Sturgeon’s party fell one short of a majority in May’s Holyrood elections – potentially scuppering her chance of securing backing for another independence bid.
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What does this mean for the Scottish Government?
As part of the power-sharing deal, the Greens are now required to back the Scottish Government in confidence votes and annual budgets as they work on a raft of agreed policy areas, including tackling the climate emergency, Scottish independence and rent controls.
Public disagreement between the parties would only be allowed on a set of agreed topics.
These include 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.
What does this mean for Scottish independence?
The bolstered numbers for Ms Sturgeon help add legitimacy to her cause – and it helps even more that the greens are keen supporters of Scottish independence themselves.
Both parties have agreed to seek another vote on Scottish independence before the end of 2023 – but only if the threat of coronavirus has subsided.
The agreement covers the majority of domestic policy, with 10 areas excluded where the parties disagree.
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Ms Sturgeon said: “I am delighted that members of both the Scottish Green Party and the SNP have agreed that we should work together in the Scottish Government to build a greener, fairer, independent Scotland.
“This historic agreement will provide a strong platform for the transformative programme we want to deliver.
“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.
“The agreement recognises that co-operation and consensus are essential to finding the practical solutions to the big challenges we face, and it echoes the founding principles of our Parliament.
“While our parties do not agree on everything, we have much common ground. We also have a determination – and indeed a responsibility – to look beyond our differences to build a better country.
“I look forward to working collaboratively with the Scottish Greens in government, and with all parties in parliament, to achieve this.”
The appointments of Mr Harvie and Ms Slater will be formally approved by a vote of MSPs today.
The Conservatives have said they will vote against the move, branding it a “nationalist gamble”, but the SNP and Greens have a comfortable majority between them in the Holyrood chamber.
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