Greens: Unacceptable for SNP leader to ‘rip out’ parts of Bute House Agreement

The coalition between the SNP and the Scottish Greens “would come to an end” with any veto of the parties’ historic agreement, Patrick Harvie has said.

The Scottish Greens co-leader said his party remains committed to the Bute House Agreement but he warned key issues like controversial gender reforms could bring an end to the deal.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf is the only SNP leadership candidate to vow to challenge Westminster over its decision to use a section 35 order to block gender recognition reforms in Scotland.

Rival candidate Kate Forbes has instead pledged to have a “grown-up conversation” with the UK Government on how to reform the legislation while Ash Regan would scrap the reforms completely.

The controversial deposit return scheme could also be a challenge to the deal, with all three candidates pledging to change or pause the legislation.

The Greens became part of the Scottish Government in 2021 in exchange for support for SNP policies and they have two ministerial posts in First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s cabinet.

Speaking on BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Friday, Mr Harvie discussed the red lines on his party’s involvement in government.

He said: “We would not accept any Scottish Government simply vetoing parts of the Bute House Agreement.

“Those policies are in the Bute House Agreement, that’s what we’re intended to deliver.

“And if there was a Scottish Government, whether it’s the current First Minister who hadn’t resigned and changed her mind, whether it’s a new first minister wanting to rip out parts of that agreement, clearly that agreement would come to an end.”

Scottish National Party leadership election
SNP leadership candidates Ash Regan, Humza Yousaf and Kate Forbes (Jane Barlow/Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Scottish Greens are set to address the key issues of the Bute House Agreement at their conference in Clydebank on Saturday.

Mr Harvie added that any future leader who did not respect the “progressive policies” of the deal could not be accepted.

He said: “Our commitment is to the values of the progressive policies and the ethos of collaborative co-working that’s in the Bute House Agreement.

“And that would not be respected by anyone who said that they wanted to continue working with the Greens but they’ll have to accept my agenda. That would be out of kilter.”

However, Mr Harvie emphasised that his party is keen to continue in Government.

He said: “We want to continue within government under the progressive values and the strong policies that were agreed, not only between the co-leaders of political parties, but the members.”

Ms Sturgeon’s successor will be selected on Monday following a five-week leadership battle.