Scottish Greens to reveal if members have voted to put them in government

The Scottish Greens are to reveal if members have backed plans that could put their party into government for the first time in the UK, as part of a deal with the SNP.

On Saturday, Green members will vote to approve or reject an agreement to join the Scottish Government, with co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater becoming ministers.

According to the party’s internal rules, if the membership rejects the agreement the deal cannot go ahead.

The SNP’s National Executive Committee (NEC) has already backed the agreement.

Ahead of the extraordinary general meeting on Saturday required by the party’s constitution, Ms Slate urged members to support the deal.

The members’ vote is expected to end in the early afternoon and will then be ratified by the party’s National Executive Council with a result declaration expected by mid-afternoon.

Ms Slater said on Friday she did not want to pre-empt the outcome, but is “confident that the deal is the right thing for Scotland”.

Ahead of the vote, both leaders insisted the agreement will be good for Scotland, the country’s efforts to tackle the climate crisis and contains “transformational” policies such as implementing rent controls.

Mr Harvie said on Friday it feels “incredibly exciting” to be on the brink of government.

He added: “Our members will decide whether we’re going to take this historic step and put Greens into government for the first time, not just in Scotland, but in any part of the UK.”

The draft powersharing agreement was formally announced by First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon along with the two Scottish Green co-leaders at her official residence, Bute House in Edinburgh, on August 20.

Scotland powersharing agreement
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (centre) and Scottish Green Party co-leaders Patrick Harvie (left) and Lorna Slater (right) at Bute House, Edinburgh (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

Announcing the deal, Ms Sturgeon stressed it is not a coalition but it is “about doing politics and governance better”.

Negotiated over the summer after the SNP fell one seat short of an overall majority in May’s election, the deal involves a shared policy platform agreed by both sides which would be pursued by the Scottish Government.

This includes an agreement to pursue another vote on Scottish independence before the end of 2023, if the threat of coronavirus has subsided.

It covers the majority of domestic policy, with 10 areas excluded as the two parties do not agree on these issues so are not expected to support each other.

The role of gross domestic product (GDP) in measuring economic growth, public funding for defence companies, membership of Nato in an independent Scotland, field sports and the regulation of selling sex are among areas outside the scope of the agreement.

The Greens also pledge to back the Scottish Government in confidence votes and annual budgets – if they have sufficient input into the process.

The Scottish Conservatives branded the deal as creating a “coalition of chaos” focused on independence, while Scottish Labour said the “coalition of cuts” is a “disaster for Scotland”.