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Patrick Harvie rules out further co-operation with the SNP as Bute House deal ends

Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie has indicated that his party will no longer co-operate with the SNP | Alamy

Patrick Harvie rules out further co-operation with the SNP as Bute House deal ends

The co-leader of the Scottish Greens has ruled out providing any further co-operation to Humza Yousaf’s government, using First Minister’s Questions to suggest the SNP administration will now have to rely on “right-wing forces” to get a majority in parliament.

Earlier today Yousaf called an emergency summit with Green leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater during which he ended the Bute House Agreement that gave the Greens ministerial positions and ensured the minority SNP government had a majority in parliament.

Though Yousaf told a press conference that he would “look forward to continuing to co-operate with [the Scottish Greens] on an issue-by-issue basis”, both Slater and Harvie have indicated that they no longer intend to provide that co-operation.

Speaking immediately after the meeting with Yousaf, Slater called the move “an act of political cowardice by the SNP” and accused the party of “selling out future generations to appease the most reactionary forces in the country”.

During FMQs a clearly angry Harvie told the first minister he is unlikely to find support from the Greens.

“Who does the first minister think he has pleased most today – Douglas Ross, Fergus Ewing or Alex Salmond?,” he asked.

“And more to the point, which of them does he think he can rely on for a majority in parliament now?”

In response, Yousaf thanked Harvie and Slater for their contribution to the government and the country, adding that both parties could take “great pride” in what the Bute House Agreement has achieved.

“It is time for the SNP to govern as a minority government and to reach out on an issue-by-issue basis to other political parties right across this chamber, in the best interests of this country,” he said.

“I believe there are many issues that unite us and one of those issues that unite, for example the SNP and the Green Party – one of those issues that we’ll never demur from in any way, shape or form – is that we think all decisions about Scotland are best made by the people of Scotland.”

Speaking afterwards, Harvie said the Greens “remain committed to collaborative politics” but that there would be consequences to “rip[ping] up the most progressive co-operation deal in the history of this parliament”.

“The issues which matter to the Scottish Greens were core to the Bute House Agreement – ramping up climate action, standing up for tenants’ rights and protecting the most vulnerable people in society – [and] we were committed to making a difference on these, day in day out, as part of the Scottish Government,” he said.

“Instead, Humza Yousaf has chosen to rely on social conservatives and the right wing of his party to run a minority government.

“That has significant consequences for how the Scottish Greens position ourselves in parliament, and the first minister cannot rely on Green support while being dictated to by forces on the right.

“We remain committed to collaborative politics – Scotland deserves a government that’s willing to co-operate, in the best interest of our country and of future generations. But you can’t rip up the most progressive co-operation deal in the history of this parliament and expect business to continue as usual.”

Harvie and Slater have so far refused to comment on whether they will support a vote of no confidence in Yousaf being tabled by Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross.

Making the announcement at FMQs, Ross accused Yousaf of "governing in the SNP's interest, not in Scotland’s interest".

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton have confirmed their parties will back the move.

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