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by Louise Wilson
06 December 2023
Kate Forbes: Bute House Agreement with Greens ‘should be repealed’

Kate Forbes returned to the backbenches after turning down a ministerial post in Humza Yousaf's government | Alamy

Kate Forbes: Bute House Agreement with Greens ‘should be repealed’

Kate Forbes has called for the SNP’s agreement with the Scottish Greens to end and for the party to govern as a minority group.

The former finance secretary, who ran for leadership of the party earlier this year, blamed many of the SNP’s current issues on the Greens.

And she urged her colleagues to refocus their priorities on growing the economy.

Forbes has previously backed calls to “check in” with the wider SNP membership over the Bute House Agreement, which put two Green MSPs into government.

Now, in an interview with the New Statesman, she said the deal “should be repealed and the SNP should operate again as a one-party minority government”.

She added: “We were elected on a SNP manifesto not a Green Party manifesto or the Bute House Agreement. Nearly all the issues that have lost us support in the last year are found in the Bute House Agreement and not in the SNP manifesto.

“I see it particularly acutely with the economy and in rural Scotland, as the Greens appear to want to overregulate rural communities out of existence and hike taxes to a rate that will ultimately reduce public revenue.”

The Scottish Government earlier this year was forced to back down on its plans to introduce highly protected marine areas (HPMAs) following significant backlash from coastal communities that were concerned about knock-on economic impacts.

The SNP’s 2021 manifesto did not mention the creation of HPMAs but it did feature in the Bute House Agreement, which committed to 10 per cent of Scottish seas being covered by one.

Forbes went on to say her party needed to rebuild trust with the electorate and that meant having to “focus more on their needs than on empty ideology”.

“Consensus politics is absolutely right – but it still needs to be representative. The Greens have a handful of politicians, all of whom rightly stay true to their own ideological convictions, and their influence should be proportional to the public’s support for their policies. And, unfortunately, right now, a lot of Green policies do not chime with the public’s priorities during a cost of living crisis,” she said.

The Bute House Agreement was signed in August 2021 by then first minister Nicola Sturgeon following the election that May.

Sturgeon’s replacement, Humza Yousaf, backed its continuation during the leadership contest earlier this year, despite some vocal critics within his party.

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