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Highland MSPs welcome “opportunities” arising from Humza Yousaf’s splitting of the SNP-Green Scottish Government coalition

By Alasdair Fraser

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First Minister Humza Yousaf has brought the power sharing deal with the Green Party to an end.
First Minister Humza Yousaf has brought the power sharing deal with the Green Party to an end.

Local MSPs are mostly welcoming Humza Yousaf’s decision to ditch the SNP-Green Scottish Government partnership as a positive for the Highlands.

The under-fire First Minister announced the move to scrap the power-sharing Bute House Agreement at a hastily arranged press conference on Thursday morning.

The move could yet backfire on Mr Yousaf who now faces a ‘no confidence’ vote put forward by the Conservatives for next week.

If lost, it would almost certainly spell the end of his tenure as First Minister which began in March 2023.

Fast moving developments surrounding the Government’s minority status and the First Minister’s future have clear implications for the Highlands and north of Scotland potentially on matters including dualling of the A9, the promise on the A96, rural policies, and climate and North Sea oil and gas policies.

Scottish Conservative Highlands and Islands MSP Edward Mountain said: “From a Highlands perspective, the Greens couldn’t be thrown out of government quickly enough.

“Their ludicrous policies are completely at odds with rural life, and their continued obstruction, along with the SNP, of vital infrastructure projects posed serious safety risks and harmed the local economy.


“That includes the vital dualling of the A9 and A96, which were promised years ago and represents a massive failing at the heart of Scotland’s government.

“The Greens are an extremist party obsessed with the central belt, and the less they have to do with Scotland’s decision-making processes the better.

“Humza Yousaf’s biggest mistake is that he didn’t boot them out sooner.”

His Holyrood colleague Jamie Halcro Johnston MSP said: “As brutal as it was, the end of this nationalist coalition of chaos between the SNP and Greens will be greeted with relief by many in the Highlands and Islands.

"The impact of Humza Yousaf’s failing government has been disastrous, with ill-considered policies such as HPMAs, the Deposit Return Scheme, short term lets licensing and the recent ban on wood-burning stoves being forced on local communities with no regard to the impact they will have.

“We’ve also seen vital infrastructure projects like the dualling of the A9 and of the A96 stall, with the Greens’ anti-car obsession only worsening existing delays caused by SNP incompetence and ministerial mismanagement.

"It is clear that the Scottish Greens have been a malign influence on the SNP, but local SNP MSPs can’t duck responsibility either.

“They have been quite happy to loyally support their government in Edinburgh, rubber-stamping these harmful policies against the interests of their constituents.

"The simple fact is that, after 17 years in power in Edinburgh, the SNP are out of ideas and fast running out of time.

“They’ve done little for the Highlands and Islands over that time, and swapping in another SNP leader won’t change that”.

SNP MSPs expressed a wish to continue to work with the Greens despite the fall-out and acrimony generated by the sudden split in the coalition

Emma Roddick MSP said: “I'm really excited about the opportunities that come with the SNP being able to chart its own course.

“I have always been open to working with anyone who shares the same priorities, and I hope that this will open up more opportunities to speak with colleagues across the chamber on different issues, where we agree.

“That might be the Greens on independence, it might be Labour on social security.

“The thing I am supporting people with the most right now is the cost of living - whether because they simply cannot afford their usual bills and groceries or are seeing steep rises in their rent or mortgage payments.

“Housing has always been my top focus as an MSP for the Highlands and Islands and my hope is that we can now take practical steps as a minority government to support access to affordable housing for people, building homes where they're needed, and having processes and regulations that take into consideration our geography, energy usage habits, and distinct needs.”

The SNP’s Maree Todd, MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, said: “The Scottish Government has always understood the significant social and economic benefits a dualled A9 offers to our Highland communities.

Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport Maree Todd.
Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport Maree Todd.

“The Bute House Agreement respected the differing views of the SNP and the Green Party, and it did not prevent the A9 dualling programme from progressing.

“Whilst I valued the Bute House Agreement, and I am proud of what it achieved; I know that we can also deliver for Scotland as a minority government.

“I hope that going forward, we can work with the Green Party in the areas where we share values, like independence, ensuring a just transition and progressive policies like the upcoming Safe Access Zones Bill.

“We are clearly in turbulent times, but I have full confidence in the SNP government and the priorities set by the First Minister, which I believe are in the best interests of the people of Scotland.”

We have also reached out to Rhoda Grant, Labour’s Highland MSP, for comment.

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