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by Louise Wilson
25 April 2024
Humza Yousaf’s future as first minister in doubt as Greens confirm backing for no-confidence vote

Humza Yousaf making a statement on the Bute House Agreement | Alamy

Humza Yousaf’s future as first minister in doubt as Greens confirm backing for no-confidence vote

Humza Yousaf’s future as first minister is in doubt after the Scottish Greens said they would back a Tory no-confidence motion.

Announcing his motion at FMQs, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross accused Yousaf of “governing in the SNP's interest, not in Scotland’s interest”.

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

And following the cancellation of the Bute House agreement, the Scottish Greens have confirmed that they too will vote for the motion.

Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater said: “When we voted for Humza Yousaf’s appointment last year, it was on the basis that we would continue to work together to deliver the progressive policy programme as laid out in the Bute House Agreement. 

“We supported him in order to deliver rent controls, a ban on conversion therapy, a new national park, and increased action on the climate emergency. It was based on a commitment to constructive ways of working together.

“His decision today to end that agreement has without doubt called into question the delivery of that programme. It came with no reassurance that his minority government would continue with these objectives. 

“And it abruptly ends the pro-independence majority government which the public voted for, and which members of both parties supported. 

“Therefore Scottish Green MSPs will support a vote of no confidence against the first minister if such a motion comes before parliament in the coming weeks.” 

Speaking in the chamber earlier, Ross said: “The Scottish Conservatives will lodge a vote of no confidence in Humza Yousaf.

“He has failed as first minister. He has focused on the wrong priorities. He has governed in the SNP’s interests, not Scotland’s interests. He is unfit for office.”

Sarwar used his question at FMQs to call for an early Holyrood election, adding: “Scotland’s government has never been so poor and its leadership has never been so weak.”

And speaking to reporters afterwards, he confirmed: “We will support anything that states that Humza Yousaf does not have the confidence of this parliament and the SNP government does not have the confidence of this parliament, because I believe the Scottish people have no confidence in Humza Yousaf and no confidence in this government.”

Cole-Hamilton also said his party would back the motion. On the breakdown of the Bute House Agreement, he said: “Two clowns have left the clown car but the circus continues.”

Yousaf held an emergency meeting of the cabinet at Bute House this morning where the decision was made to end the deal with the Greens.

In a statement to journalists, he said the agreement had been ended with immediate effect.

He said: “After careful consideration, I believe that it's in the best interests of the people of Scotland to pursue a different arrangement.”

He added: “We will now step up our ambition - we will do so as a minority government. That will be tough. We will seek to work not just with the Scottish Greens, but with MSPs from across the Chamber.”

The first minister said today marked a “new beginning” for his government.

He said that while he believed the benefits of the BHA had outweighed the compromises, the “balance has shifted” and the cooperation deal had come to a “natural conclusion”.

The deal between the two parties had come under increasing strain following the government’s decision to scrap a key climate pledge and the publication of the Cass Review on gender services for young people.

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