Scottish Greens snub Nicola Sturgeon as leader insists there will be no coalition
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Nicola Sturgeon has announced her SNP Government is in talks with the Scottish Greens over a possible formal co-operation agreement, saying that by working together the two parties “can help build a better future for Scotland”. The First Minister announced details of the talks as she set out her priorities after the SNP won the Holyrood election earlier this month. But co-leader Lorna Slater has dismissed claims of a coalition.
Ms Slater did not give any clues on whether the talks would result in support.
Asked whether her party effectively joined a coalition with the SNP, Ms Slater told ITV’s Representing Border: “That is not correct. What was announced today is something that’s very exciting.
“It’s the intention to enter into formal talks to develop some sort of improved cooperation between the Scottish Greens party and the Scottish government particularly around tackling the climate crisis, putting effective action on recovery and of course our common cause on independence.”
She added: “At this point our intention is to enter talks with the Scottish government to see what kind of agreement might be possible.”
Ms Sturgeon has stressed the discussions between the two parties – which are being supported by the civil service – will continue over the coming weeks, and said it is “not inconceivable” that they could see Green MSPs joining the SNP in the Scottish Government.
Ms Sturgeon said the parties are “agreeing to come out of our comfort zones to find new ways of working for the common good”.
She added: “As we embark on this process, we are setting no limits on our ambition.
“So in that vein let me be clear that while this is not a guaranteed or a pre-agreed outcome, it is not inconceivable that a co-operation agreement could lead in future to a Green minister or ministers being part of this Government.”
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The First Minister’s comments came as she set out her “unashamedly ambitious” plans for the coming days and months, also making clear her intention to hold a second Scottish independence referendum and insisting it would be “undemocratic” for the UK Government to block one.
She promised the first 100 days of her new Government will see a consultation take place on setting up a National Care Service – hailing this as “the most important public sector innovation” since the NHS was established.
The 100-day plan will also see the “first phase” of work to recruit 3,500 more teachers and classroom assistants for Scotland’s schools, in a bid to help youngsters whose education has been disrupted by coronavirus.
Ms Sturgeon told MSPs: “Our programme is rooted in today’s reality. But it also shows the way to a brighter tomorrow.”
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As part of that, she said “people in Scotland should have the right to make that choice”, once the health crisis is over.
The SNP failed to win an outright majority at Holyrood but she said the inclusion of the Greens means there is a “substantial majority” of MSPs in favour of an “independence referendum within the current term”.
Ms Sturgeon declared: “There is no justification for the UK Government seeking to block that mandate.
“To do so would suggest that the Tories no longer consider the UK to be a voluntary union of nations. And it would be profoundly undemocratic.”
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