AFTER OVERWHELMING VOTES in favour by the members and national executive committees of both parties, the Scottish Greens will enter into government with the Scottish National Party (SNP) at Holyrood, based on a cooperation agreement which falls short of a full coalition.

The historic decision marks the first time a Green Party has entered into government in any part of the UK. The move came about after many weeks of negotiations. It will see the Greens holding two junior ministerial roles for the first time.

The development follows Scottish Parliament elections on 6 May this year, in which the SNP won almost half of all votes cast, but fell short of a majority by one seat under the nation’s proportional voting system. The new arrangement provides for a clear majority, but also allows the two pro-independence parties to diverge on some issues.

The policy agreement between the SNP and the Scottish Greens aims to deliver a shared, broad agenda that will tackle the climate crisis, create jobs and make Scotland fairer and more just, they say. Priorities include:

* Decarbonising the transport network and investing in active travel and public transport
* Expanding and creating thousands of new jobs in Scotland’s renewable energy industry
* Legislation to grow onshore wind, and a green industrial fund
* Bringing in new protections for nature, including the establishment of at least one new national park
* Providing a new deal for tenants, including a national rent control system and better rights for tenants in the private rented sector
* Bringing forward further equalities and land reform legislation
* Preparing a joint bill on a new referendum on independence for Scotland.

The formal policy agreement, entitled ‘Working together to build a greener, fairer, independent Scotland’, declares: “Ultimately, the same old politics will only deliver the same old outcomes. For bold outcomes, bold steps are needed.” It adds: “This agreement represents a leap of faith for both parties.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who is also leader of the SNP, said: “I am delighted that members of both the Scottish Green Party and the SNP have agreed that we should work together in the Scottish Government to build a greener, fairer, independent Scotland.

“This historic agreement will provide a strong platform for the transformative programme we want to deliver. We will work collaboratively to support a fair recovery from Covid, address with urgency the impacts of the climate emergency, and give the people of Scotland a vote on independence.

“The agreement recognises that co-operation and consensus are essential to finding the practical solutions to the big challenges we face, and it echoes the founding principles of our Parliament.

“While our parties do not agree on everything, we have much common ground. We also have a determination – and indeed a responsibility – to look beyond our differences to build a better country.

“I look forward to working collaboratively with the Scottish Greens in government, and with all parties in parliament, to achieve this.”

Patrick Harvie, MSP and co-leader of the Scottish Greens, said: “I am delighted that our party members have given their support to this historic cooperation agreement that will see Greens enter government for the first time in Scotland, or indeed anywhere in the UK. With Greens in government we will be able to deliver positive change for the people of Scotland.”

His leadership partner, Lorna Slater MSP, added: “Scottish Green Party members are thoughtful and considerate, and I am pleased that having discussed and debated this agreement in great detail they have decided to take this historic step into government.

“The time has come for Scotland to step up efforts to decarbonise our economy and invest in a fairer, greener future. There’s no time to waste and I’m looking forward to start work on our transformative agenda in the coming days.”

* Read the full agreement here.

* Sources: Scottish Government, SNP, Scottish Green Party.