SNP Government in talks with Greens on formal co-operation agreement

·3-min read

Scotland’s minority SNP Government is in talks with the Scottish Green Party over a formal co-operation agreement which could see MSPs from the latter becoming ministers, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister said the move is “potentially ground-breaking” and the two parties will discuss “specific policy areas” where they can co-operate.

The SNP has 46 MSPs following the Holyrood election earlier this month and the Scottish Greens have seven, after Alison Johnstone became non-party affiliated on taking up the Presiding Officer role.

In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, Ms Sturgeon said: “I can confirm that the Scottish Government and the Scottish Green Party will enter structured talks, supported by the civil service, with a view to reaching – if we can – a formal co-operation agreement.

“As we embark on this process, we are setting no limits on our ambition.

“So in that vein let me be clear that while this is not a guaranteed or pre-agreed outcome, it is not inconceivable that a co-operation agreement could lead in future to a Green minister or ministers being part of this Government.”

Following the announcement, Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said politics does not have to be about “point scoring or short-termism”.

He added: “We believe the people of Scotland want to see grown-up politics like this, and will approach the forthcoming talks in this spirit.”

Meanwhile, Ms Sturgeon also said the Scottish Government will soon set out its “expectations” for what will come after Level 0 of Covid-19 restrictions.

Outlining her plans for the first 100 days of Government, she told MSPs the “most important priority” is to lead Scotland safely out of the pandemic.

She said an announcement will come in the next three weeks on how Scotland will look once the levels system is scrapped.

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“As we come out of the pandemic, there will be bumps in the road – as we are experiencing in Glasgow just now,” she said.

“But the vaccine rollout gives us firm hope that we are on the right track.

“So over the next three weeks, we will also set out our expectations for the stage beyond Level 0 – as we return to a much greater degree of normality.”

Ms Sturgeon said in the first 100 days the Scottish Government will publish an NHS recovery plan – “setting out how we will achieve a 10% increase in activity in key services”.

She also said legislation to create a national care service will be introduced in the next 12 months, with ministers aiming to have the new service – which would focus on social care – established by the end of the parliamentary term.

The First Minister told MSPs: “This will be, in my view, the most important public sector innovation since the establishment of the National Health Service.”

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