SNP announces ‘historic’ Scottish power-sharing deal, as Greens enter govt in the UK for first time

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The Scottish National Party (SNP) has announced a power-sharing deal with the Scottish Greens on Friday after failing to win a majority, pledging to push ahead with plans to hold “an independence referendum in this Parliament.”

The deal, which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stressed is “not a coalition,” marks the first time that the Greens have entered government anywhere in the UK. It was announced at a press conference with Sturgeon and the co-leaders of the Scottish Greens, Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie.

The agreement will see two parties work together to hold a second Scottish independence referendum within the next five years, as well as appointing two Green MSPs to junior ministerial roles, they said. 

The Scottish Greens are pro-independence and, on the whole, support the SNP’s agenda. However, there are some differences between them, including on school fees, aviation issues, and international relations such as an independent Scotland seeking NATO membership. Sturgeon said the parties would focus on what they have agreed to cooperate on in pursuit of “doing politics and governance better.”

We do not agree on everything, but we are coming out of our comfort zones to focus on what we do agree on.

Harvie hailed the deal as a “historic” agreement, which will allow the two to “do everything in our power to tackle the escalating climate and nature emergencies to deliver a just transition for all.”

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Among the specifically agreed policies that the parties have said they’ll now focus on are investment in public transport, boosting the offshore wind sector, investing an extra £1.8 billion ($2.45 billion) in increasing energy efficiency, and building more than 100,000 affordable homes.

The SNP is the largest party in the Scottish Parliament, having secured 64 seats – one short of an overall majority – in the elections back in May, while the Greens are the fourth biggest group, with eight MSPs. Over the past five years, the SNP has formed a minority government, working with the Greens to secure the passage of Scotland’s annual budget.

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