Nicola Sturgeon on brink of second referendum as SNP secure pro-independence majority

Nicola Sturgeon says there’s a ‘choice between two futures’

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A meeting of the Scottish Cabinet approved the power-sharing deal this morning. Both parties, who support a second independence referendum, have been locked in negotiations since May after the SNP fell one seat short of an overall majority at the Holyrood election.

The deal will see the Greens in national government for the first time in the UK. 

It will not be a formal coalition between the two but will see them work together on key issues including Climate Change as well as separation from the UK.

The agreement mirrors a similar agreement between Labour and the Lib Dems in the first two terms of the Scottish Parliament when Jack McConnell served as First Minister between 2001 and 2007.

Under the deal, two Green MSPs will become Scottish Government ministers after a nomination process. 

The draft policy programme known as the Bute House Argeement will see both parties will commit to holding a referendum on Scottish independence after the COVID pandemic has passed, within the current parliamentary session.

Alongside this, it also details collaboration on the climate emergency, economic recovery, child poverty, the natural environment and energy. 

It will also see the creation of two new Scottish Government overseas offices in Warsaw and Copenhagen to promote Scotland’s interests in Central Europe and the Nordic countries.

But deal also supports the Scottish Government’s view that oil and gas licences should be reviewed rather than scrapped.

Ms Sturgeon was criticised earlier this month for what was seen as a less than full-throated opposition to the controversial Cambo oil field near Shetland.

The field – which could produce more than 800 million barrels of oil – came to the fore after a UN-backed report was described as “code red for humanity” on climate change.

However, as the confidence and supply agreement was announced, the Scottish Conservatives have called for Patrick Harvie’s party to lose their spot at First Minister’s Questions.

Party chief whip Stephen Kerr has written to Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone to request the change.

If the Presiding Officer did strip the Greens of their slot at FMQs, then only the leaders of Labour and the Tories would be able to scrutinise Ms Sturgeon.

Mr Kerr has also pushed for the party to be stripped of the ability to call opposition debates and for Green spokespeople to lose the ability to question ministers following Government statements.

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Mr Kerr added today: “It would make a mockery of the Scottish Parliament if members of the government were allowed to tee up Nicola Sturgeon with waste-of-time queries to help her run the clock out at First Minister’s Questions.

“Proper opposition scrutiny of the SNP-Green Government is essential.

“How will softball questions from Patrick Harvie, drafted in Nicola Sturgeon’s handwriting, hold the government to account?

“The Greens can’t have their cake and eat it. Now that they’re officially forming a nationalist coalition of chaos, they can no longer even pretend to be an opposition party.

“That would undermine Scottish democracy.”

Opposition parties have also attacked the Greens and the SNP for the deal, with Tory net-zero spokesman Liam Kerr saying the Greens’ manifesto is a “doctrine to start a war on working Scotland”, after it proposed a move away from North Sea oil and gas, and the end of new road-building projects.

Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour leader said the agreement would be a “disaster for Scotland” and added: “This will come as a surprise to no one, but it is a disaster for Scotland.

“This straitjacket deal covers all but a handful of issues, with the so-called Greens endorsing the SNP’s dismal track record on everything from austerity to the environment.

“It’s hard to believe they will be a strong voice within government when they certainly never were in opposition.”


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