SNP ends power-sharing deal with Scottish Greens

Humza Yousaf

First Minister Humza Yousaf confirmed on Thursday that the Scottish Government’s formal co-operation agreement with the Scottish Green Party has ended.

The Scottish Conservatives said they will lodge a motion for a vote of no confidence in Yousaf.

Yousaf met Scottish Green Party co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater on Thursday morning and, following a meeting of the Scottish Cabinet, the First Minister informed them formally of the end of the Bute House Agreement, and their tenure as Ministers, with immediate effect.

The First Minister told the Greens the cessation of the Bute House Agreement “should not be a barrier to our parties continuing to work together to make progress on the policies Scotland needs to thrive.”

Slater lashed out at the decision, saying Yousaf has signalled that when it comes to political cooperation he can no longer be trusted.

She said: “This is an act of political cowardice by the SNP, who are selling out future generations to appease the most reactionary forces in the country.”

The SNP now intends to form a minority government.

The full text of the First Minister’s letter to Harvie and Slater read: “I am writing to confirm the decision taken by Cabinet today to bring the Bute House Agreement to an end.  This decision is effective immediately.

“As per the terms of the Bute House Agreement, this development also marks the end of your tenures as ministers.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your service to the Scottish Government and for your evident commitment to improving the lives of the Scottish people.

“The Bute House Agreement delivered bold action on pressing social issues, including securing a better deal for tenants and action to tackle poverty and inequality.

“We have worked together, too, to accelerate our transition to net zero, with a focus on fair work, green jobs and more support for active travel and the launch of free bus travel for under 22s.

“We can all be proud of our work together to build a greener, fairer and independent Scotland and for the role you played in working collaboratively to find solutions for the problems confronting the world today.

“This spirit of co-operation and consensus-building is in keeping with the founding principles of our Scottish Parliament. Those principles will continue to guide my Government’s approach and to be innovative in the ways we serve the people of Scotland.

“The cessation of the Bute House Agreement should not be a barrier to our parties continuing to work together to make progress on the policies Scotland needs to thrive; not least our shared commitment to securing independence for Scotland and to giving people the right to choose our country’s future.

“Thank you once again for all you have done to deliver for the people of Scotland. I wish you well for the future.”

Slater added: “Voters deserve better, Scotland deserves better. Scottish Green voters certainly deserve better.

“They have broken the bonds of trust with members of both parties who have twice chosen the co-operation agreement and climate action over chaos, culture wars and division. They have betrayed the electorate.

“And by ending the agreement in such a weak and thoroughly hopeless way, Humza Yousaf has signalled that when it comes to political cooperation, he can no longer be trusted.

“In just a few weeks’ time our own members were to have a democratic say on endorsing the co-operation agreement. We are confident they would have supported us in continuing our work for Scotland, as they have done at every turn.

“Neither they nor SNP members will have that opportunity. Instead, the most reactionary and backwards-looking forces within the First Minister’s party have forced him to do the opposite of what he himself had said was in Scotland’s best interests.

“By contrast we as co-leaders of the Scottish Greens were prepared to put our own political careers on the line with our members, to defend our achievements in government, despite enduring all that SNP backbenchers and others threw against us.

“What a pity he didn’t have the fortitude or the bravery to do the same. If they can’t stand up to members of their own party, how can anyone expect them to stand up to the UK Government at Westminster and defend the interests of Scotland?

“We want, we demand, a fairer greener Scotland. We believed the Bute House Agreement would speed up that process, only to be let down by the SNP time and time again – on council tax, on oil and gas, on 2030 and most obviously, again today.

“I appeal to those SNP members who do care about climate, trans rights, independence and our country to consider if they are in the right party for their values, or if their home should be with us as we prepare to step up our defence of the planet in opposition.

“Finally, to all those who will feel hurt and betrayed today, know this: our resolve is absolute, we will not abandon you as the SNP have, we will fight for your future with every breath we take. ”


Joanna Cherry, SNP MP for Edinburgh South West: “The ending of the Bute House agreement is a huge opportunity for the SNP to reset our agenda in government.

“Out with identity politics & virtue signalling. In with policies to tackle the bread & butter issues that our constituents bring up on the doorsteps.”

Scottish Financial Enterprise CEO Sandy Begbie: “I welcome the first minister’s commitment to reset his government’s priorities, including a focus on building a strong economy.

“We will work closely with the government to rebuild the relationship with business, with a focus on working together to deliver the growth our economy – and our society – needs.

“Business is the vehicle for creating the jobs and attracting the investment that will grow our economy and expand our tax base.

“As our growth strategy sets out, our sector has the potential to grow by up to £7bn over the next five years and our members want as much policy alignment and policy certainty as possible to support this.

“There have been too many issues where business concerns have gone unheeded, including DRS, the retail levy, tax divergence and the Heat in Buildings draft legislation which is not fit for purpose.

“The policy-making process works best when government and business work hand in hand and we urge ministers to use this reset to engage meaningfully with the private sector to deliver better policy and economic outcomes.

“We will also continue to engage with Scottish government on their approach to taxation in Scotland and the clear evidence of its negative impact on attracting jobs and talent to Scotland.

“The figures announced yesterday from HMRC are two years out of date and not reflective of the current facts which we identified in our recent member survey.”

Springfield Properties CEO Innes Smith: “We are very hopeful that this gives the SNP the opportunity to reconnect with businesses and implement policies that get us to net zero while encouraging lost housing investment back into Scotland and enabling the delivery of the quality homes across multiple tenures that are so desperately needed.”

Scottish Conservatives chair Craig Hoy: “The collapse of this toxic coalition is an utter humiliation for Humza Yousaf, who hailed it as ‘worth its weight in gold’ and continued to back it to the hilt right until the end.

“The first minister’s judgment is so poor that he couldn’t see what a malign influence the anti-growth Greens have been in government and his authority so weak that he was bounced into this U-turn by his own MSPs.

“It beggars belief that the Greens were invited into government in the first place – but even more astonishing that Humza Yousaf allowed them to call the shots on issues like abandoning oil and gas, further delays to dualling the A9 and A96, devastating fishing curbs and gender ideology.”

Tracy Black, CBI Chief Strategy Officer and Devolved Nations Ambassador: “People and businesses across Scotland are far less interested in political drama than they are in having a government that is laser focused on improving lives and livelihoods.

“With the Scottish economy continuing to tread water, we need everyone pulling in the same direction to boost growth.

“Supporting a thriving and competitive business sector is the only way to deliver the productivity gains we need to effectively raise living standards and fund our public services.”