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by Louise Wilson
29 August 2023
Douglas Ross urges SNP rebels to ‘kick Greens out of government’

Douglas Ross urges SNP rebels to ‘kick Greens out of government’

Douglas Ross has urged SNP MSPs critical of their government’s deal with the Greens to work with his party to remove them from power. 

Speaking at the launch of his party’s new economic strategy, Ross said it was time for the “would-be rebels” in the SNP to “put up or shut up”. 

He said his MSPs would support any bid to bring the Bute House Agreement to an end. 

He said: “If they want to challenge any part of the Green policy agenda, then they will have the support of Scottish Conservative MSPs. And if they want to vote down the Bute House Agreement, then they can count on Scottish Conservative votes.  

“If they believe that having the Greens in government is damaging the rural livelihoods and communities they represent, if they believe that Scotland’s economy is more important than blind allegiance to the nationalist cause, then they will seize the opportunity I am offering them to kick the Greens and their extreme policies out of government.” 

The continuation of the cooperation agreement between the SNP and Greens has been called into question in recent months, with some SNP backbenchers calling for members to be given a vote on the matter. 

But First Minister Humza Yousaf has indicated he wants to see the agreement continue until at least the next Holyrood election in 2026. 

Yousaf is set to deliver his first programme for government when parliament returns next week. 

Ross described this as his “last chance” to change tack and prioritise efforts to grow the Scottish economy. 

His economic strategy urges the government to make growth its number one priority, and backs tax cuts to bring Scotland into line with the rest of the UK. 

It also calls for the creation of a Joint Scottish Economic Board involving both governments, a “handbrake” on introducing new business regulations, and a new repopulation strategy to attract new talent across Scotland. 

Another recommendation is to “reduce the size of devolved government”.

The Scottish Greens have dubbed Ross's strategy a "shambolic tribute act to Liz Truss".

Economy spokesperson Ross Greer said: "Thanks to the Scottish Greens, public services here in Scotland are better off to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds a year. But Douglas Ross wants to cut that money back out of the budgets for our schools, hospitals and emergency services.

"We are ensuring it is the highest earners and those who can afford to buy holiday homes that are paying a bit more tax, allowing us to fund the services which make Scotland such a great place to live. That is how we build a fairer, greener society, not through the disastrous slash and burn approach of the Tories."

Meanwhile, the Scottish Tory leader also confirmed his intention to push for a vote to stop the introduction of new short-term let regulations. 

The new rules, set to go live from 1 October, will mean those who let out holiday accommodation will need to apply for a licence to do so. 

But opponents have warned this will hit the hospitality sector, particularly self-catering businesses, at a time when it is already struggling. 

Tory business spokesman Murdo Fraser has called on ministers to pause the scheme’s introduction “urgently”, but economy secretary Neil Gray said there were “no plans” to delay the deadline. 

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