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by Staff reporter
23 April 2024
Humza Yousaf: SNP members don’t ‘want or need’ vote on Bute House Agreement


Humza Yousaf: SNP members don’t ‘want or need’ vote on Bute House Agreement

SNP members do not “want” or “need” a vote on whether to continue the Bute House Agreement with the Scottish Greens, First Minister Humza Yousaf has said.

His comments come as the Greens prepare for an emergency meeting on whether they wish to continue in government.

Yousaf said the SNP rank-and-file had “already had a vote” on the deal and that he had won the leadership election last year having pledged to maintain it.

He added: “I don’t think a vote is what SNP members necessarily want at this time, or indeed need at this time.

“What we have to get on with is governing in the best interests of the people of Scotland and I’ve thoroughly not just enjoyed but, I think, achieved a lot with our Green colleagues.

“I hope that cooperation agreement will continue and I hope that Green members will also see the benefit of that cooperation.”

The emergency meeting was called after a number of Green members became disillusioned with the deal after the scrapping of a key climate target and the announcement that puberty-suppressing hormones would no longer be prescribed to young people.

The Bute House Agreement was signed after the 2021 election and brought co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater into government as junior ministers.

It is understood the pair, alongside fellow MSP Ross Greer, are urging members to back the deal.

But others, including former party co-chair Ellie Gomersall and Edinburgh councillor Chas Booth, have called on members to vote against its continuation.

Yousaf has previously said the agreement is “worth its weight in gold”.

But his leadership rivals – former finance secretary Kate Forbes and former community safety minister Ash Regan (who later defected to Alba) – both expressed their concerns about the deal at the time.

Forbes later called on SNP members to be given a vote on whether to continue is and last December said it should be ended and the SNP should “operate again as a one-party minority government”.

Other notable backbenchers Fergus Ewing and Kenneth Gibson have also said SNP members should vote again.

Separately, Regan has today lodged a motion of no-confidence in Harvie following his comments on the Cass review.

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