Naga Munchetty grills Patrick Harvie over IndyRef2 hopes
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Scottish Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater are expected to serve in Nicola Sturgeon’s Government as part of a new cooperation deal. The deal, which was negotiated over the summer after the SNP fell one seat short of an overall majority in May’s election, was announced last Friday and has since been backed by the ruling party’s national executive committee.
Both ministers will hold environmental-related portfolios with one position responsible for green skills, the energy industry and the natural environment.
Meanwhile, the other will be responsible for decarbonising homes and transport and the rental sector.
However, the SNP-led administration was today accused of handing key positions in government to “extremists” who would decimate Scotland’s economic growth.
Murdo Fraser MSP, Scottish Tory Covid recovery spokesman claimed the Scottish Greens co-leader were Nicola Sturgeon’s “very own Laurel and Hardy”.
But he stressed giving them power “won’t be a laughing matter for businesses across Scotland.”
Mr Fraser added: “Neither Patrick Harvie nor Lorna Slater should be anywhere near key financial decisions that will impact jobs and businesses.
“Their growing influence is a danger to our oil and gas industry and the 100,000 jobs it supports.
“The Greens seek to undermine the future of the North Sea sector at every turn, and Nicola Sturgeon is giving them a bigger platform to do that.
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“It’s a real worry that an anti-jobs duo may have a regular seat at the Cabinet table, while businesses are shut out from the decision-making process.”
Former Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill, said: “It’s a shady deal that puts greens in ministerial jobs but will have severe consequences for some aspects of Scottish life.”
Robert Kilgour, chairman of pro-Union Scottish Business UK, said: “Now that they see Greens’ anti-growth mantras are being mainstreamed directly into the corridors of power, business leaders will be forgiven for assuming that the SNP government has given up on taking post-pandemic growth seriously.
“The Scottish Government, including its new Green ministers, must therefore make it clear to businesses that they won’t let the underlying reason for this arrangement – the dogged pursuit of a new referendum to break up the UK – stand in the way of jobs and recovery.”
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However, the appointment of Mr Harvie and Ms Slater as Scottish ministers are subject to Green members approving the cooperation agreement on Sunday.
The party’s internal rules state that if the membership rejects the agreement, it cannot go ahead.
The Scottish Government will announce who will take each portfolio next week if the deal is confirmed.
Mr Harvie said: “With Greens in Government we would be able to deliver positive change like tackling Scotland’s emissions, protecting nature, advancing tenants’ rights.
“Bringing forward overdue equalities legislation and delivering an independence referendum.
“I am proud of our vibrant party democracy and look forward to discussing and debating this deal with members on Saturday and if they back it, they can be assured that we’ll waste no time getting to work to deliver on this transformative agenda.”
Ms Slater, who was elected for the first time in May, said: “The time has come for Scotland to step up efforts to decarbonise our economy and invest in a greener, independent future.
“The co-operation agreement we’ve negotiated would put Greens at the heart of decision making at this crucial time and if our members endorse it then I look forward to driving change in Government.”
The pair will be the first Greens to enter government in UK political history.
The Scottish First Minister also urged SNP members to back a deal with the Scottish Greens to “cement the pro-independence majority at Holyrood”.
Members are being given the chance for a consultative vote on the matter, although it won’t be binding on the party.
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