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by Louise Wilson
04 August 2023
Labour-Green coalition ‘difficult to envisage’

Labour-Green coalition ‘difficult to envisage’

A deal between Scottish Labour and the Scottish Green Party is “difficult to envisage” should Labour require support from a smaller party to enter government, a senior party source has told Holyrood

It comes as the Bute House Agreement between the SNP and Greens is under increasing pressure, two years on from the deal which saw co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater enter government. 

SNP backbencher and former minister Fergus Ewing earlier called for SNP members to be given a vote on whether the partnership should continue. 

Two major policies supported by the Greens – the deposit return scheme and highly protected marine areas – have been subject to significant backlash in recent months, leading one to be delayed and the other scrapped. 

Asked whether Scottish Labour would enter into a Bute House Agreement-type deal with the Greens, a senior Scottish Labour source told Holyrood: “Scottish Labour believes in climate action and creating green jobs and will co-operate with other parties to that end.  

“That being said, it is difficult to envisage Scottish Labour working with the current Green leadership for whom creating green jobs and tackling climate change are merely afterthoughts.” 

As MSPs are elected through an electoral system designed to deliver proportional representation of votes, it is difficult for any one party to achieve an overall majority. This has only been done once in the parliament’s nearly 25-year history. 

When Labour have previously been in power, they have formed a majority administration with the Lib Dems. 

The most recent polls show the SNP will likely return the most MSPs at the next Holyrood election, not due until 2026, but support for the party has dropped in recent months while Labour has gained ground.  

Support for the Scottish Greens, however, remains relatively high. Most polls suggest they would return their biggest ever cohort of MSPs. 

This is despite some dissatisfaction within the party internally. Former leader of the Greens, Robin Harper, this week announced his resignation

He also confirmed he intended to support Labour at the next general election. 

Writing exclusively for Holyrood, he raised concerns about “Green performance in the parliament and by the general tone of how they conduct their business”. 

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