Nicola Sturgeon is on the brink of signing a deal with the Scottish Greens that would cement a pro-independence majority at Holyrood and may see the Greens taking ministerial seats. The Guardian understands a final agreement is close to being signed, with preparations under way to put the deal to Sturgeon’s cabinet as early as next Tuesday. The formal deal, which will stop short of a full coalition of the kind agreed by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats under David Cameron and Nick Clegg in 2010, would give the Scottish National party and Scottish Greens a clear majority of seats at Holyrood. It would allow the first minister to present a strong pro-climate agenda in advance of the Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow this November, and outvote anti-independence parties in Holyrood. It is understood nearly all the key policy discussions, around areas such as spending, climate, conservation, transport and local government, are close to being agreed. One source said the two sides “were 95% there, but the last few percentage points are the hardest”. The biggest remaining hurdles are around collective responsibility and setting out how much freedom the Scottish Greens have to disagree with Scottish government decisions, including opposing them in parliament. The deal could allow the Greens to criticise Sturgeon’s stance on North Sea oil exploration, with pressure mounting on the Scottish government from climate campaigners to oppose the proposed Cambo oil field development near Shetland. The Scottish government, which has previously refused to endorse Green demands for an end to North Sea exploration and drilling, has indicated it will not oppose Cambo’s approval. Scottish government officials argue that since UK ministers control oil licensing, Sturgeon cannot change that decision.
Guardian 3rd Aug 2021 read more »
Times 4th Aug 2021 read more »