Sturgeon announces plans to appoint Scottish Green co-leaders to government

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Nicola Sturgeon has announced her intention to appoint Scottish Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater as government ministers.

The move marks the first time Green representatives have been appointed to government anywhere in the UK.

It follows the Scottish Government and Scottish Green party announcing a powersharing deal last month.

Mr Harvie will be Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights Minister while Ms Slater will take on the role of Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity.

Among Mr Harvie’s responsibilities will be driving the move from high carbon transport and heating to greener alternatives, while ensuring fairness during the transition.

Ms Slater responsibilities will include the Green Industrial Strategy as well as dealing with national parks.

Ms Sturgeon said: “This historic cooperation agreement is founded in a shared drive to work together in the Scottish Government to build a greener, fairer, independent Scotland.

“We have massive challenges to overcome: a global pandemic and its lasting effects, the climate emergency and the assault by the UK Government on the powers of our Parliament.

“Patrick and Lorna’s roles in Government are rightly at the heart of facing up to them, and the expertise and passion they bring with them will contribute greatly to defining Scotland’s path forward in doing so.”

She added: “I look forward to working with my new Green Party colleagues in this new and ambitious way.”

Scotland power sharing agreement
Scottish Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater arrive at Bute House in Edinburgh (Lesley Martin/PA)

Mr Harvie said: “We are at a crucial tipping point in terms of our relationship with the planet.

“I am thrilled at the opportunity to drive forward policies that enhance peoples’ lives while supporting the urgent goal of tackling the climate emergency as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Ms Slater said she will focus on a just transition to net zero as well as ensuring benefit to the natural environment.

Ministerial appointments are subject to formal approval by the Scottish Parliament and the Queen.

The Scottish Conservatives plan to vote against the nominations but are outnumbered by SNP and Scottish Green MSPs.

Scottish Green co-leaders
Scottish Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater will become ministers (Jane Barlow/PA)

Negotiated over the summer after the SNP fell one seat short of an overall majority in May’s election, the powersharing agreement involves a shared policy platform.

This includes an agreement to pursue another vote on Scottish independence before the end of 2023, if the threat of coronavirus has subsided, as well as a raft of environmental policies and a commitment to implement rent controls.

The deal stipulates that public disagreement between the parties would only be allowed on a set of 10 agreed topics – such as 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.

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