Menu
Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up

Subscribe

Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine

Subscribe

Subscribe to Holyrood
by Ruaraidh Gilmour
09 August 2023
Kate Forbes backs calls to ‘check in’ with SNP members over Bute House Agreement

Forbes said that the SNP will always look to find common ground with other parties. But she has said that ministers need to know if the public still favours the deal. | Alamy

Kate Forbes backs calls to ‘check in’ with SNP members over Bute House Agreement

Kate Forbes has said she agrees with calls to “check in” with SNP members on whether to continue with the Bute House Agreement.  

The former finance secretary suggested a ballot could take place at the party’s annual conference in October.   

She is the third former Scottish Government minister to call for a ballot on the deal between the SNP and the Scottish Greens which put the SNP minority in government following the Scottish Parliament elections in 2021.   

Fergus Ewing and Alex Neil have also said that SNP members should be allowed to have their say.  

Forbes said that the SNP will always look to find common ground with other parties. But she has said that ministers need to know if the public still favours the deal.    

Speaking on BBC Good Morning Scotland, Forbes said: “I’m a democrat, so I’m always in favour of checking in with the people, checking in with members - that’s the purpose of conference, to ensure they are continuing to support certain policies.  

“The government has a duty to its party to ensure we’re delivering in a way that’s consistent with the membership’s interests.  

“I think what is critical for me is not just the Bute House Agreement, but the substance of it.  

“It includes a commitment to HPMAs, and we have seen the government shift away from HPMAs, and it includes a commitment to a deposit return scheme, and we have seen a shift away from the deposit return scheme.  

“I think asking ideologically about an agreement is less important than asking what should be in the agreement.”  

Forbes added that she wants the dualling of the A9 between Inverness and Perth to be sped up – which conflicts with the Scottish Greens’ wish to see fewer cars on the road. She described it as a “red line” in delivering for Scotland.  

She added: “As someone who has negotiated several budgets with the Greens, we can always find common cause with other parties, and the Bute House Agreement allows legislation to be developed in a better way.

“Ultimately as democrats, we have to ensure we are delivering for people and that means checking in with the public to know what they want and what they care about.” 

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe

Read the most recent article written by Ruaraidh Gilmour - Healthy intelligence: How AI is changing the NHS.

Stay in the know with our fortnightly magazine

Stay in the know with our fortnightly magazine

Subscribe

Popular reads
Back to top