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Greens could get a minister in deal with SNP

Patrick Harvie’s party may join government

A co-operation deal between the SNP and Scottish Greens could see a Green MSP join the Scottish Government.

Talks are under way that may see Holyrood adopt a model similar to that in New Zealand which has seen Green Party MPs take on ministerial portfolios while not being in an official coalition.

Scotland’s civil servants and lawyers are looking into the idea, fuelling speculation that one of the Green group’s eight MSPs will be handed ministerial office.

Under the title “important announcement”, an email sent to Green MSPs and seen by the PA News agency, said: “We need to postpone the question and answer sessions planned for this week, as well as the decision-making EGM (emergency general meeting).

“This is not due to any problem – the Political Co-operation Working Group (PCWG) is very pleased with the progress of the talks so far.

“Both sides are enthusiastic about what’s being developed, and for exactly those reasons we need to take more time to ensure the small-print works for us.

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“In particular, the New Zealand model is something which has never been tried in the UK before and the civil servants and Government lawyers need more time to finalise the technical aspects of how it will work in a Scottish Parliament context.

“We can say that both sides are expressly clear that we are not talking about a coalition, but we are looking at a deal which is broad in its scope.”

Last week, it emerged that a deal could be finalised as early as Friday.

Nicola Sturgeon announced talks had been launched on the creation of a co-operation agreement between the two parties after May’s election, which saw the SNP fall one seat short of an overall majority.

The idea, according to the First Minister and the Greens, would see co-operation over specific issues, without a formal coalition deal.

Areas of co-operation are likely to include Scottish independence, which both parties support.

Greens co-leader Lorna Slater said in May the deal could allow for long-term budgeting to be done, rather than the usual annual negotiations the SNP are forced to go through to secure budget deals when ruling as a minority administration.



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