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Scottish Greens back coalition deal with SNP

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The Green Party in Scotland on Saturday agreed to join a coalition government with the Scottish National Party.

A deal was agreed in principle earlier this month and needed approval from members at an extraordinary party conference.

In a tweet, the Greens said: “We will enter government for the first time ever, after an overwhelming vote in favour of the cooperation agreement with the SNP Government.” With some votes still to be counted, some 88 percent of party members who voted backed the deal, according to the Press Association.

SNP members also supported the deal, with the party tweeting that 94.9 percent of votes cast were in favor.

The deal follows a summer of tough negotiations between Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP and the Greens, which achieved their best-ever result in the country’s May election. After the SNP narrowly fell short of an outright victory, the Greens’ support is enough to shore up a small governing majority. The two parties already worked together on an informal basis over the last five years, with the SNP in power as a minority government but passing key legislation with the support of the Greens. 

Green Party co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater are set to become government ministers as part of the agreement.

The deal was reached as the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow looms. While the Scottish government has no official role in the conference, Sturgeon is likely to be a visible presence given that the summit takes place in Scotland’s largest city.

Both parties are in favor of Scottish independence.

Politicians from the SNP reacted with fury after a senior U.K. Cabinet minister suggested the high bar they would need to clear for Westminster to grant Scotland a second independence referendum.

In an interview with POLITICO Thursday, Boris Johnson’s Scotland Secretary Alister Jack said a fresh vote on the country’s future could take place if 60 percent of the population wanted one. It marked the first time a government minister had indicated what it would take for the U.K. to grant a second referendum.


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For more polling data from across Europe visit POLITICO Poll of Polls.

“If you consistently saw 60 percent of the population wanting a referendum — not wanting independence but wanting a referendum [to take place] — and that was sustained over a reasonably long period, then I would acknowledge that there was a desire for a referendum,” Jack said. “Anyone can see that.”

Responding to reporter questions at a coronavirus briefing Friday, Sturgeon accused Jack of “making up constitutional rules as he goes along.”

“We have constitutional rules that are pretty well established in a democracy, that if a party wins an election on a particular proposition they should get to implement that proposition,” Sturgeon added.

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