Kate Forbes: SNP must end powersharing deal with Greens

Kate Forbes. Picture: Jane Barlow/PAKate Forbes. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA
Kate Forbes. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA
The former leadership hopeful said ‘We were elected on a SNP manifesto, not a Green Party manifesto’

The SNP should drop its powersharing agreement with the Scottish Greens and govern as a minority party at Holyrood, Kate Forbes has said.

The former SNP leadership contender blamed the Greens’ policies for the Scottish Government losing support, saying they want to “over-regulate” rural communities.

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Ms Forbes has previously said the SNP should “check in” with its members on the Bute House Agreement, the deal which led to the smaller pro-independence party entering government after the last Holyrood election.

But she went further in an interview with the New Statesman, saying the deal “should be repealed and the SNP should operate again as a one-party minority government”.

Ms Forbes was narrowly defeated by Humza Yousaf in the SNP leadership contest earlier this year.

He continued the powersharing agreement, which brought Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater into government as ministers.

Ms Forbes, the MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, told the New Statesman her party’s “momentum” has stalled and bold change is needed.

She said: “We were elected on a SNP manifesto, not a Green Party manifesto or the Bute House Agreement.

“Nearly all the issues that have lost us support in the last year are found in the Bute House Agreement and not in the SNP manifesto.

“I see it particularly acutely with the economy and in rural Scotland, as the Greens appear to want to over-regulate rural communities out of existence and hike taxes to a rate that will ultimately reduce public revenue.

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“That is despite the cost-of-living crisis hitting our economy and the rural sector particularly hard.”

She said past SNP governments had “managed to speak for the fisherman in Buchan as well as the working mum in Glasgow”, and she called for a return to that approach.

Ms Forbes also discussed the reaction to her conservative religious views during the SNP leadership contest.

A backlash to comments she made about same-sex marriage saw some of her early backers withdraw their support in the race.

The MSP said: “I don’t think that I was indulging culture wars or appealing to a particular base: I was genuinely answering honestly, and that isn’t as neatly characterised as perhaps a politician that is trying to be nasty for nastiness’s sake.”

She said many in public life are now living in fear of being “cancelled” or receiving abuse, leading to them distorting their real views.

Asked if she would consider another run at the SNP leadership, she said she would “only consider standing if I felt like I was the right kind of leader for the party and the country at that point in time”.

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