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What's gawn on?

When Humza Yousaf became First Minister of Scotland not 12 months ago, he inherited a power-sharing agreement with the Scottish Greens put together by his predecessor Nicola Sturgeon.

It was something of a pro-independence alliance with a shared vision of Scotland based on progressive economic policies, climate action and robust protection for LGBT+ rights.

Yousaf posed as the ‘continuity candidate’ in his SNP leadership bid, music to the ears of Greens looking for a carbon copy of ally Nicola Sturgeon. 

The reality has been somewhat different, however. 

Tensions between the parties started to increase with the decision to freeze Council Tax (a less progressive form of tax than what many had hoped for), drop key climate targets, and pause puberty blockers for under-18s considering the Cass Review into gender-identity clinics. So much so that Greens leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater announced a vote on the future of the Bute House Agreement and whether Greens members still wanted to pursue this relationship with the SNP. 

Yousaf didn’t think it was in the SNP’s interest to have that same conversation among members. He says he “really values” the agreement and they share a common goal of “wanting independence for their country.” He also spoke of this importance at the independence rally in Glasgow last weekend.

Yet only 4 days after these sentiments were shared, he pulls a U-turn. Yousaf announced, just yesterday, the termination of the agreement with the Scottish Greens and that the SNP will form a minority government.

After all the carry-on, the Conservatives weigh in with lodging a ‘vote of no-confidence.’ It’s an opportunity for MSPs to express their view on whether the First Minister is fit to continue in office. It only needs the backing of 25 MSPs to happen and then 65 MSPs for the motion to pass. In which case Yousaf would be expected to resign.

MSPs would need to then elect a new First Minister. Failing to do so in 28 days would mean an election in Scotland. 

Scottish Labour have also launched a motion of no-confidence in the Scottish Government as a whole. Should this pass, it will trigger an election regardless of the vote on the First Minister specifically. This is all to come in the next cuttla weeks.

SNP only have 63 MSPs, while the opposition has 65. With Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems and Greens all committing to vote against the First Minister, it might come down to Alba’s Ash Regan. 

Regan defected from SNP to Alba just weeks ago and Yousaf had called her ‘no great loss.’ 

The two don’t see eye to eye on several issues… they were, after all, in opposition to each other in the SNP’s leadership contest last year. Most notably the process by which the gender of Scotland’s citizens are recognised and reflected in law. 

BBC’s James Cook reports that the implementation of proposals in the Cass Review (into gender identity clinics) will be a red line for Regan and Alba’s support.

More to follow.


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