Patrick Harvie blasts Kate Forbes and warns Scotland risks returning to 'repressive values of 1950s'

Patrick Harvie has launched a blistering attack on John Swinney's decision to appoint Kate Forbes as Deputy First Minister.

The Scottish Greens co-leader, who was sacked from Government last month, asked if her return to the Cabinet this week signalled a return to "the repressive values of the 1950s".

Forbes faced a backlash last year after she admitted she would have voted against equal marriage legislation if she had been an MSP at the time.

The MSP for Skye and Lochaber was further criticised after suggesting having children outside of marriage was "wrong" according to her faith as a member of the Free Church of Scotland.

Harvie and other Scottish Green MSPs were left furious over the manner of Humza Yousaf's decision to terminate the powersharing deal between the environmentalists and the SNP at Holyrood.

The collapse of the Bute House Agreement between the two parties ultimately cost Yousaf his job and paved the way for John Swinney to take charge of a minority SNP administration.

The new First Minister received support from Forbes for his leadership bid and yesterday promoted her to Deputy First Minister.

Speaking at FMQs today, the decision was criticised by Harvie.

He said: "The Scottish Greens have been clear that we acknowledge the SNP's right to form a minority Government. But we have been equally clear that the First Minister must quick give a signal of the direction his Government will take.

"Yesterday, that signal came pretty clearly - progressive ministers sacked, and the second-most powerful job in Government given to someone who has opposed LGBT people's legal equalities, who has expressed judgmental attitudes towards abortion, and has even expressed the view that people who have families without being married are doing something wrong.

"Is this the Scottish Government's vision for the future of Scotland? Taking it back to the repressive values of the 1950s?"

Swinney responded: "No, it's not the direction of the Scottish Government. The Government will be led from the moderate, left-of-centre position that I have always occupied, and which is the policy position of my party.

"I set out, when I announced my candidacy for the leadership of my party, that I wanted to build on the work of the SNP Government to build a more modern, diverse dynamic Scotland that will ensure opportunities for all of her citizens.

"I offer myself as the First Minister for everyone in Scotland, and that is precisely what I will do."

Speaking after FMQs, Swinney was asked if he believes his deputy supports his progressive values. He replied: “Yes, she does actually.”

Forbes then told journalists: "I am here to support the First Minister and together we serve all communities in Scotland as we further and progress the rights of every community in Scotland, and I look forward to doing my part in achieving the Government’s aims in that regard.

"Not just that, but when I joined Government yesterday in a clear role to support the First Minister, I signed up to collective responsibility, so I stand by the Government’s decisions and agenda to improve and progress the rights of all of Scotland’s communities."

The First Minister added it was “absolutely legitimate” for people to “seek reassurance”.

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