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by Kirsteen Paterson
21 August 2023
Scottish Greens: Rival parties 'running scared' of Bute House Agreement

Scottish Greens co-leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie are Scottish Government ministers

Scottish Greens: Rival parties 'running scared' of Bute House Agreement

The Tories and Labour are "running scared" of the Bute House Agreement, the Scottish Greens claim.

The party, which entered government after the 2021 Scottish Parliament election in a deal with the SNP, said it has brought "common sense" to bear on climate policies.

And it said its presence in government is "crucial" to "preventing Westminster's planet-wrecking policies from damaging Scotland".

Former SNP cabinet secretary Fergus Ewing and ex-Green co-leader Robin Harper have criticised the Greens in government over issues including blocked gender recognition reforms and recycling legislation.

Ewing has called for SNP members to have a vote on whether the Bute House Agreement should continue. However, First Minister Humza Yousaf has said it will continue until 2026.

Mark Ruskell MSP, the Scottish Greens' climate spokesperson, has now said the Tories and Labour "seem intent on running headlong into a climate catastrophe by scrapping protections and climate action while doubling down on supporting fossil fuels and big business".

The claim comes after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak defended plans to expand oil and gas drilling in the North Sea. He said granting more than 100 new licences off the Scottish coast is "entirely consistent" with UK Government net zero goals and Number 10 said the plan will "boost British energy independence", reducing "reliance on hostile states".

Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said cities should consider other options for reducing traffic pollution after the ultra-low emissions zone (Ulez) put in place by the party in London was blamed for the loss of the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election. He said he is in favour of clean air but does not want to pursue schemes that "disproportionately impact on people in the middle of the cost-of-living crisis".

Ruskell said: "We had a flavour of the climate chaos to come this summer in the Highlands. But the Tories have done all they can to distract people from the truth of their planet-wrecking duplicity, while Labour has cowardly flip flopped on environmental pledges.

"It is thanks to the Bute House Agreement, particularly because of having the Scottish Greens in government, that we have stood firm against this assault on not just our environment, but on common sense. 

"It is our cooperation deal that has brought record investment in nature restoration, into a Just Transition, into walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure, into shifting people from their cars and onto a nationalised rail service, into free bus travel for the young and a new national park.

"We are the ones who have stood up to Westminster's climate chaos. We have banned single use plastics and coal extraction, we have taken action to curb waste incineration and are calling for a tax on private jets. 

"The Scottish Greens are standing up for climate and the Bute House Agreement is delivering, which is why they are running scared of it."

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