New deal

SNP agrees junior minister posts for Green party

New partners: Nicola Sturgeon and Patrick Harvie

Two Scottish Green party MSPs have been given junior ministerial positions in the government in a move to strengthen the SNP’s ability to push through its legislative programme.

Despite cooperation in a number of key areas, the “confidence and supply agreement” will not be a formal coalition on the lines of the Labour-Lib Dem deal between 1999 and 2007.

However, the Green party will back most government policy on issues such as public transport and renewables, but will maintain an independent position in areas such as aviation policy, international relations, policy on fee-paying schools, fox hunting and Nato membership if Scotland becomes independent.

Green party ministers could be invited to attend cabinet meetings when their portfolios being discussed, with the Green co-leaders attending cabinet at least twice a year.

The deal, which is due to be ratified by the Green party next Saturday, includes a commitment to hold a referendum on Scottish independence after the Covid pandemic has passed and within the next five years.

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