Exclusive:SNP backbenchers warn FM ‘appeasing Greens’ over trans Cass report could stoke rebellion

SNP backbenchers warn FM ‘appeasing Greens’ over trans Cass report could stoke rebellion

First Minister Humza Yousaf is facing mounting pressure amid warnings his response to the Cass report on transgender services could be "pivotal" in whether SNP backbenchers spark a rebellion over the SNP leadership’s cosy relationship with the Scottish Greens.

The renewed dismay from backbenchers over concerns the party could "attempt to appease the Greens” over transgender rights comes as a polling expert warns that “Labour could be key beneficiaries” from the junior coalition partner standing in at least 32 general election seats and is “bucking the trend” with voters as polling remaining steady.

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Insight – Greens could harm SNP’s election as Bute House Agreement set for secon...
Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Public opinion and political analyst, Mark Diffley, said that "there are many, many marginal seats, particularly across the central belt”, adding that “if the Greens do equally as well or even put on a few votes from 2019, it stands to reason that Labour could be key beneficiaries as the pro-independence vote could be split”.

Several politicians have urged the Scottish Government to suspend the use of puberty blockers and hormones after the Cass Review into children’s gender care in England found “unclear” evidence into the treatment.

One SNP MSP said that "the response to the Cass report may be pivotal”, with backbenchers looking “to what extent will the SNP attempt to appease the Greens rather than act in the best interests of Scottish children”.

The SNP’s 2021 Holyrood manifesto vaguely committed to “identify the best and most effective way to improve and simplify the process by which a trans person can obtain legal recognition” while the Greens committed to “deliver long overdue reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, including statutory self-declaration”.

The SNP backbencher added that “concerns will grow further” due to “various measures driven by Greens for housing (that) will have to be tempered”.

Outspoken SNP backbencher Fergus Ewing meanwhile told Scotland on Sunday that the Greens are responsible for “dreadful policies that have completely failed”, warning that the SNP is being “tarnished by association” with the “self-confessed extremists”.

Mr Ewing added that placing Green co-leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie as ministers in key roles was “recklessness” by Nicola Sturgeon as part of the Bute House Agreement and has called on Mr Yousaf to end “political insanity and electoral suicide” and move the Green duo from their briefs.

But key Green figures have insisted that apparent friction between Scotland’s two governing parties, as the crunch general election looms, is being manufactured by SNP backbenchers hostile to their coalition partners and progressive politics such as Mr Ewing.

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A Greens source told Scotland on Sunday that there was “no doubting the personal animosity” towards their party by Fergus Ewing, as well as claiming the former SNP minister held a “hostility to progressive politics, whether that’s in the shape of equalities or environmentalism”.

Green MSP Ross Greer told Scotland on Sunday that the government partners are still working well together despite a war of words over the general election, joking that “me and Humza are still friends”.

Mr Greer said that “those in the SNP who oppose the Greens also seem to be opponents to the First Minister and opponents of progressive politics”.

He added: “The Bute House Agreement is an agreement relating to the Scottish Government, it’s not an electoral agreement. In any other European country, it would be mad to see coalition parties suggesting it’s unthinkable to vote for a rival party.

“Our parties are different and have different visions or society. No party owns votes, only voters do. That attitude treats voters with a huge amount of disrespect.”

And one SNP minister said that the party must “take responsibility for the problems we have faced”, warning that “it is a waste of time and energy to point the finger at the Greens, and the voters aren’t going to fall for it”.



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