Voting Green could be ‘real danger’ to independence push, says Yousaf

Scotland’s First Minister has said there is a “real danger” voting for the Scottish Greens at the next election could hamper the SNP’s push for independence.

The two parties currently enjoy a majority at Holyrood as a result of their coalition deal, but cracks have been beginning to show in recent weeks as they gear up for the election.

The Scottish Greens have said they will field at least 32 candidates north of the border at the general election – their highest number ever.

But some have worried their presence on the ballot paper could split the independence vote.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland on Monday, Humza Yousaf said his coalition partners – whom he has repeatedly praised, referring to the deal between the two as “worth its weight in gold” – were unlikely to win a seat in Scotland but could detract from their shared goal of separation.

“If you believe in independence, you want to advance the cause of independence, then I would urge people to vote for the SNP,” he said.

“To be clear, though we are in Government with the Greens we are – to state the obvious – different political parties that will often compete in a number of different elections.

“Therefore, yes, I think there’s a real danger for those that believe in independence, believe in progressive values that if you vote for the Greens, that could end up taking votes away from the SNP.

“And with the greatest of respect to my Green colleagues, they’re not going to win a Westminster seat in Scotland.”

Mr Yousaf added that the election presented Scotland with a “number of opportunities”, including advancing the independence cause, voting out Tory MPs and ensuring “Scotland’s voice is heard by Westminster”, which he said could only be done by voting for the SNP rather than “splitting that vote” by voting for another pro-independence party.