SNP's power-sharing deal with the Scottish Greens collapses

The first minister has ended the SNP's power-sharing deal with the Scottish Green Party.

The move follows the government's decision to scrap climate targets and a pause on the prescription of puberty blockers for under-18s.

The Conservatives have said they will hold a vote of no confidence in First Minister Humza Yousaf.

That could come as early as next week and Mr Yousaf is facing calls to hold an election.

The SNP is now a minority government and will need to win the support of opposition MSPs to get its programme approved by the Scottish Parliament.

The SNP hold 63 of the 129 seats at Holyrood, two short of an overall majority, The Greens have seven, the Scottish Conservatives 31 and Labour 22.

The Presiding Officer of the parliament would be expected to back the status quo in the event of a tied vote.

Former SNP member Ash Regan now sits as an Alba Party MSP.

She is said to be writing to the first minister setting out her concerns about Scottish government priorities and asking whether there are areas where her party and the SNP can work together.

Former first minister and leader of the Alba Party, Alex Salmond, said Mr Yousaf has made Ms Regan the "most powerful MSP in the Scottish Parliament".

'Sold out future generations'

The end of the Bute House Agreement began with an early morning meeting between Mr Yousaf and the co-leaders of the Scottish Green Party, Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater.

They were seen walking out of Bute House - the first minister's official residence in Edinburgh - before an emergency cabinet meeting.

First Minister Humza Yousaf said he had formally notified Ms Slater and Mr Harvie that the agreement - which was signed by the two parties following the Holyrood election in 2021 - had been terminated.

The two Green politicians immediately left their junior ministerial posts, which they held in return for their party's support for the SNP-led government.

The Greens later said the SNP had "sold out future generations".

The first minister's spokesman said Mr Yousaf briefed his cabinet at 08:30 for an hour and his colleagues "enthusiastically endorsed the position", banging the table to show their support.

At a press conference later in Bute House, Mr Yousaf said he had thanked his former colleagues for their contribution to the Scottish government and made it clear the SNP intended to work with the Greens "where we can" and "in the national interest".

"The Bute House agreement was intended to provide stability to the Scottish government and it has made possible a number of achievements," he said.

"But it has served its purpose - it is no longer guaranteeing a stable arrangement in parliament.

"The events of recent days have made that clear and therefore after careful consideration I believe that going forward it is in the best interest of the people of Scotland to pursue a different arrangement."

The news that the agreement was being scrapped came days after the Greens announced that party members would be given a vote in the coming weeks on whether they should remain in power with the SNP.

Mr Harvie had previously said he would quit as co-leader if the party voted to end the agreement, but on Thursday he said his position was a discussion for another day.

Speaking to journalists in the parliament's garden lobby, Mr Harvie said the first minister's decision was a "total U-turn from recent days".

Asked whether the party would be as co-operative with the government over negotiating the next Holyrood budget, he replied: "Do you think the current government will still be in place for the next budget?"

In a strongly-worded statement, Ms Slater described the ending of the Bute House agreement as an "act of political cowardice by the SNP" and accused the party of "selling out future generations".

She also said she was confident Green members would have supported the party staying in government if the vote had happened.

She said: "Neither they nor SNP members will have that opportunity. Instead, the most reactionary and backwards-looking forces within the first minister's party have forced him to do the opposite of what he himself had said was in Scotland's best interests.

"By contrast we as co-leaders of the Scottish Greens were prepared to put our own political careers on the line with our members, to defend our achievements in government, despite enduring all that SNP backbenchers and others threw against us."


The relationship between the two parties came to a head in the wake of the SNP Energy Secretary Mairi McAllan's announcement last week that Scotland's target of cutting carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels was out of reach and would be scrapped.

That sparked anger from many grassroots Green members.

Scotland's NHS also said it was pausing prescribing puberty blockers to under-18s referred by the country's only specialist clinic, following a report by Dr Hilary Cass.

Mr Harvie said there was "distress" in the party over the move and that young trans people may now "not get access to the treatment they need".

The first minister said on Saturday that he valued the power-sharing deal with the Greens, adding: "I think we've achieved a lot together in government. I want to keep achieving a lot."

When asked whether he could soon be leading a minority government soon, Mr Yousaf had replied: "I don't think that will be the case".

Speaking at First Minister's Questions on Thursday, Green MSPs sat quietly with their heads bowed as Mr Yousaf defended the record of the two parties in government.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross accused the first minister of "panicking before the extreme Greens could dump him", and said he was lodging a vote of no confidence in the first minister.

It is not yet known whether the Greens will back Mr Ross in the no confidence vote, which would not be held until next week at the earliest.

Mr Ross said Mr Yousaf had "abandoned the platform he stood on", adding: "He claims it is now a new beginning but really it's the beginning of the end. Isn't Humza Yousaf a lame duck first minister?"

'Weak, divided and incompetent'

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said it was time to "end this circus" and called for an election.

He said: "The challenges facing our country have never been so great, but Scotland's government has never been so poor and its leadership has never been so weak.

"The people of Scotland can see the SNP have lost their way: weak, divided and incompetent. Putting party before country."

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have also said they want an election.

Mr Harvie told the parliament that the SNP could no longer rely on Green votes in parliament and asked Mr Yousaf who he thought he had most pleased - Mr Ross, SNP rebel Fergus Ewing or Alex Salmond, the former SNP leader and first minister who now leads the Alba Party.

He said: "Which of them does he think he can rely on for a majority in parliament now?"

Former SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes - a vocal critic of the SNP-Greens partnership - said on X, formerly Twitter, that she believed the government is most effective "when its priorities match the public's" and that the SNP is "most electable as a broad tent, representative of the nation".

She added: "Amidst all the differing views in the SNP about this decision on [the Bute House Agreement] by the FM, some delighted and others gutted, it is worth recalling our core objectives: to serve Scotland's people, end inequality, eradicate poverty, govern well & pursue prosperity, like other indy nations."

SNP MP Joanna Cherry, another critic of the Bute House Agreement, said the ending of the deal was a "huge opportunity" to reset the SNP's agenda in government.

She posted on X: "Out with identity politics and virtue signalling. In with policies to tackle the bread and butter issues that our constituents bring up on the doorsteps."

Scotland's former first minister and the leader of the Alba Party, Alex Salmond, said that Humza Yousaf has made Alba's Ash Regan the "most powerful MSP in the Scottish Parliament".

Speaking to the BBC after the collapse of the SNP's power-sharing agreement with the Greens, Mr Salmond said the first minister had managed to annoy every opposition party in Holyrood.

Ms Regan, Alba's sole MSP, is writing to the first minister setting out her concerns about the Scottish government's priorities and seeing if there are areas where her party and the SNP can work together, ahead of any confidence vote.

Analysis box by Glenn Campbell, BBC Scotland political editor

The SNP government is in no position to guarantee that Mr Yousaf will win the confidence vote, likely to be held next week.

If all opposition MSPs join forces against the first minister, he will lose.

Strictly speaking, that vote is not binding but politically he would more or less be obliged to resign.

Parliament would then have 28 days to agree a successor and if not an early election would be called.

So how could Mr Yousaf avoid this scenario?

If the Greens cool down over the next week and choose to abstain rather than voting against him - or if any one opposition MSP could be persuaded to switch sides.

The SNP have 63 MSPs. Their opponents have 65. One switcher to the government could result in a tie in which the presiding officer (equivalent of the Commons speaker) would be expected to back no change.

The Alba MSP Ash Regan is expected to write to the first minister offering terms for her backing.

Without her vote or at least a couple of MSPs abstaining or sitting on their hands, Humza Yousaf's political survival would be in serious doubt.