Kate Forbes: Time to axe SNP-Green coalition

Humza Yousaf should ditch the Scottish Greens and govern as a minority party at Holyrood, according to his former leadership challenger Kate Forbes

The ex SNP finance secretary blamed the Greens’ policies for the Scottish Government losing support.

She claimed the party wants to “over-regulate” rural communities.

Ms Forbes has previously said the SNP should “check in” with its members on the so-called Bute House Agreement, the deal under former leader Nicola Sturgeon which put two Green MSPs in government.

But she went further in an interview with the New Statesman on Wednesday.

‘Lost support’

“We were elected on a SNP manifesto, not a Green Party manifesto or the Bute House Agreement,” she said.

“Nearly all the issues that have lost us support in the last year are found in the Bute House Agreement and not in the SNP manifesto.

“I see it particularly acutely with the economy and in rural Scotland, as the Greens appear to want to over-regulate rural communities out of existence and hike taxes to a rate that will ultimately reduce public revenue.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (centre) welcomes Scottish Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater at Bute House. Image: Lesley Martin/PA.

She said past SNP governments had managed to speak “for the fisherman in Buchan as well as the working mum in Glasgow”.

Contentious policies, dumped in recent months, include wider bans on fishing off the coast of Scotland and a deposit-return recycling scheme.

Green politicians also want to halt the full dualling of the A96 between Aberdeen and Inverness. North East Green MSP Maggie Chapman previously said that project is “not viable”.

Kate Forbes lost the leadership contest for her party which, some months later, continues to be a considerable source of relief.

– Green party spokesman

Responding to Ms Forbes’ comments, an SNP spokesman said: “Only a matter of months ago, SNP members voted to elect Humza Yousaf as SNP leader and first minister after he stood on a platform endorsing the Scottish Government’s co-operation agreement, which 95% of party members voted to support.

“The Bute House Agreement has already delivered vital steps to tackle climate change, a better deal for tenants, and action to reduce poverty and inequality – such as an increase to the Scottish Child Payment and free bus travel for under-22s.

“And the SNP is fully focused on taking action to support households through the cost-of-living crisis by, for example, freezing council tax.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Greens said: “Kate Forbes lost the leadership contest for her party which, some months later, continues to be a considerable source of relief for all those who, like the majority of SNP members and ourselves, believe in a progressive, inclusive form of politics working on behalf of everyone in Scotland.”

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