Humza Yousaf terminates Bute House Agreement with Scottish Greens 'with immediate effect'

Humza Yousaf has confirmed he has terminated the Bute House Agreement between the SNP and Scottish Greens "with immediate effect".

The First Minister confirmed at a hastily arranged press conference in Edinburgh this morning his party would now form a minority government.

But the decision prompted a furious backlash from Greens co-leader Lorna Slater, who accused Yousaf of "political cowardice" and caving in to the "most reactionary forces in the country".

Speaking at Bute House today, Yousaf said: "Cooperation in any sphere of life is by definition, a trade-off. One which the benefits of working together are held up against the limitations of compromise.

"And when it comes to our agreement with the Scottish Green Party, I believe the benefits have outweighed the compromises.

"When I said the agreement was worth its weight in gold, I meant it. However, it is now my judgement that the balance has shifted.

"The Bute House Agreement was intended to provide stability to the Scottish Government. And it has made possible a number of achievements.

"But it has served its purpose. It is no longer guaranteeing a stable arrangement in parliament. The events of recent days have made that clear.

"Therefore after careful consideration, I believe it is in the best interests of the people of Scotland to pursue a different arrangement.

"Following a discussion with my Cabinet this morning, I have formally notified Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater that I am terminating the Bute House Agreement with immediate effect."

He added today marked a "new beginning for this SNP Government".

The Bute House Agreement was signed by Nicola Sturgeon in the aftermath of the 2021 Holyrood election and was supposed to usher in a new era of cooperation between the SNP and Greens, as well as securing a pro-independence majority of MSPs.

But it was never popular with all Nationalists and has come under severe strain over the last week since the Scottish Government ditched key climate targets.

That decision prompted fury from rank-and-file Green members who then secured a vote planned for next month on whether to the deal should continue.

Advisers close to Yousaf felt that was too long for uncertainty to hang over the future of the government and prompted the SNP leader's sudden announcement this morning.

But the end of the Bute House Agreement prompted a furious reaction from Lorna Slater, the Greens co-leader.

"This is an act of political cowardice by the SNP, who are selling out future generations to appease the most reactionary forces in the country," she said.

"Voters deserve better, Scotland deserves better. Scottish Green voters certainly deserve better.

"They have broken the bonds of trust with members of both parties who have twice chosen the co-operation agreement and climate action over chaos, culture wars and division. They have betrayed the electorate.

"And by ending the agreement in such a weak and thoroughly hopeless way, Humza Yousaf has signalled that when it comes to political cooperation, he can no longer be trusted."

Jackie Baillie, Scottish Labour deputy leader, said: "Humza Yousaf is too weak to hold his own government together and he is too weak to deliver for Scotland.

"Three years into the Bute House Agreement the promises the SNP and Greens made have been torn to shreds.

"While Humza Yousaf is ditching the Bute House Agreement, he cannot escape the fact that it’s the SNP that has left almost one in six Scots on NHS waiting lists, gutted public services and failed to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

"None of this changes the fact that it is SNP failures that have left Scots with higher bills, higher taxes, fewer jobs and a health care service on the brink.

"The collapse of this ill-fated marriage was inevitable but Scotland needs an entirely new government."

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