SNP candidate Kate Forbes slams Green Party coalition partners

SNP candidate Kate Forbes slams Green Party coalition partners

March 26, 2023

SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes slams Green Party coalition partners and declares she can govern Scotland without them as voting closes TODAY

  • Kate Forbes was blasted by Scottish Green Ministers over views on LGBT issues
  • Read: SNP’s Kate Forbes attacks ‘backlash’ against her Christian faith

Kate Forbes has today delivered a devastating rebuke to the SNP Government’s Green coalition partners, saying: ‘I can govern Scotland without them.’

The Finance Secretary has been blasted by Scottish Green Ministers over her views on LGBT issues as well as her plans for the fishing industry.

But on the final day of voting in the SNP leadership election, Ms Forbes has hit back at her detractors, saying they would have to accept her as First Minister if she wins the contest tomorrow – or risk breaking the Bute House agreement.

In an extraordinary intervention that threatens to further split the Nationalist movement, she said if the Greens did not accept her, she would happily run an SNP-only government.

Ms Forbes said: ‘I’m relaxed about leading a minority government. I have always held out the hand of partnership to the Greens and it’s for them to decide whether or not they can accept that. The SNP secured an independence referendum when we earned the public’s trust from governing and delivering on their priorities.

Kate Forbes (pictured) has today delivered a devastating rebuke to the SNP Government’s Green coalition partners, saying: ‘I can govern Scotland without them’ 

‘We do that by governing well and it matters more to govern well, even as a minority, than it is to dance to the tune played by another party.’

Ms Forbes, 32, added: ‘I have no fear of a minority government.’

It comes as her main rival in the SNP leadership contest – establishment candidate Humza Yousaf – yesterday claimed it was paramount that the SNP and Greens continue to work together in government.

Under the Bute House agreement signed in August 2021, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Green parliamentary party joined forces for five years.

The deal allowed two Scottish Greens – Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater – to become Scottish Government Ministers.

Since the beginning of the leadership race the pair have been on a collision course with the Finance Secretary, vehemently disagreeing with her views on same-sex marriage and gender reforms, as well as her stance on their embattled Deposit Return Scheme.

The Finance Secretary has been blasted by Scottish Green Ministers over her views on LGBT issues as well as her plans for the fishing industry

Ms Forbes has repeatedly said she would need to see the legal advice before buckling to the Scottish Greens’ demands to challenge the UK Government’s use of a Section 35 block on Nicola Sturgeon’s gender Bill and has also said she would revise their shambolic bottle recycling plans if she becomes First Minister tomorrow.

Ms Forbes’s pledges to the fishing industry that she would roll back on marine protected areas have also angered the eco party.

Yesterday, in a last-ditch attempt to prevent Ms Forbes taking the top job, Mr Harvie and Ms Slater told their party conference she would go against their ‘progressive’ social policies and climate ambitions if she was made First Minister.

READ MORE: ‘People of faith have a right to hold high office’: SNP’s Kate Forbes attacks ‘backlash’ against her Christian faith and anti-gay marriage views in race to become Scotland’s First Minister – as she says conversion therapy is ‘abhorrent’


In a thinly veiled attack, co-leader Mr Harvie added that for the Greens a ‘sincere commitment to progressive values cannot be an optional extra in a choice of First Minister’, but a ‘necessity’.

Ms Slater said the party would not stay in the Scottish Government with the SNP ‘at any cost’ and said the Greens would ‘never be a party that is prepared to put our principles to one side’.

She said the new First Minister must also ‘agree that trans rights are human rights and that our trans siblings cannot be used as political fodder by Westminster’.

Speaking exclusively to The Scottish Mail on Sunday, Ms Forbes has responded to the Scottish Greens, saying she will work with them if they are willing to listen to the will of the people.

She said: ‘As First Minister I need to be clear I am there to serve all of Scotland and that means delivering on the people’s priorities, which, by the way, is the cost of living crisis, reforming the NHS and growing the economy.

‘And to do that I strongly believe in working with other parties in parliament, including the Greens.

‘I have been at pains throughout the campaign to say that I am willing to work with them on the basis of the people’s priorities.’

But she added: ‘On Section 35 it is incumbent on every member of government to follow legal advice.

‘Even Humza Yousaf has said that if the legal advice has suggested that he couldn’t win [a legal challenge] he wouldn’t go to court and I have been saying that from the very beginning – that we should use our money wisely, particularly in a cost of living crisis and we shouldn’t be spoiling for a fight just for the sake of it.

‘On the marine protected areas I have always said I believe we should conserve our marine environment but I’ve also suggested we have a more localised approach and I had always understood the Greens to be a party of localism.

‘My suggestion that we decentralise some of the decision-making on marine protections to local communities strikes me as inherently green.

‘I think there is an approach to working together, but surely both of our parties want to deliver for the people.’

Speaking about the criticism levelled at her during yesterday’s Green conference in Clydebank, Ms Forbes said: ‘It’s flattering of course to be the subject of conversation at another party’s conference. But it is the people who I am accountable to and not to other parties.’

In a savage put-down, Ms Forbes added: ‘Ultimately it is for SNP members to determine who they want to be their leader – and not for the Greens.’

Her frank response to the criticisms comes as Mr Yousaf yesterday claimed his party could not afford to risk a minority government.

During a visit to the proposed site for the Eden Project in Dundee the Health Secretary said any move away from the Bute House agreement would ‘destabilise’ the Scottish Government.

He urged his rivals not to jeopardise the deal, saying: ‘I would say to anybody who ends up being the next leader of the SNP, you have to find a way of co-operating with the Greens.

‘If you don’t, you end up not just in a minority government, but I have to say one of the most toxic parliaments I’ve ever been in, in terms of, I’m afraid, the opposition who will not look to co-operate with the SNP very often, even if there’s a good reason to do so.’

Despite the differences in opinion – and despite Mr Yousaf being the favoured candidate of a number of Nationalist MSPs – Ms Forbes is optimistic of her chances of winning the race tomorrow.

She said: ‘I’m feeling fairly confident. I have nothing beyond anecdotal feedback but I am feeling fairly upbeat. It is just the end of the beginning.’ The Scottish Greens will hold a special council meeting tomorrow after the SNP leader is announced. Ms Slater said they would then choose whether or not they wanted to continue in Government.

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