UK

SNP would win a vote on Greens deal at conference, says Yousaf

The First Minister was speaking during a visit to the Riverside Museum in Glasgow (Robert Perry/PA)
The First Minister was speaking during a visit to the Riverside Museum in Glasgow (Robert Perry/PA) The First Minister was speaking during a visit to the Riverside Museum in Glasgow (Robert Perry/PA)

First Minister Humza Yousaf has said he is confident SNP members would back the party’s deal with the Scottish Greens at its conference if a vote was called.

Mr Yousaf has been a steadfast defender of the deal, which brought the Greens co-leaders into Government and shored up the pro-independence majority in Holyrood.

Some senior figures within the party, most vocally former minister Fergus Ewing, and others within the Scottish independence movement have criticised the agreement.

Speaking to the PA news agency on a visit to Glasgow’s Riverside Museum on Monday, the First Minister said: “We’ve already had a vote and 95% of our membership backed it.

“We’ve just had a a leadership election, of course, in which the Green deal was a central issue, and I’m pleased that I was elected as leader of the SNP.”

Fergus Ewing
Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing has been among the loudest opponents of the deal within the SNP (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA)

Mr Yousaf – who has spent the summer campaigning in different parts of the country – said he has “knocked a lot of doors” and rarely has the deal between the two parties been brought up.

Asked if he believes his argument would be backed by the membership, he said: “Yes, absolutely.”

Mr Ewing has been the loudest voice against the deal, describing the Greens as “wine bar revolutionaries” and arguing Scottish Government policy had been pulled to the left by the agreement – which was signed under Nicola Sturgeon.

Both candidates who faced Mr Yousaf in the recent leadership contest were also sceptical of the pairing, with former finance secretary Kate Forbes saying recently the party should “check in” with members on the deal.

Senior SNP figures have repeatedly rejected such an idea.

Meanwhile, the party’s new chief executive took up the post on Monday.

Murray Foote was previously the SNP’s head of communications, before he quit earlier this year after being given incorrect membership numbers to brief the press by Peter Murrell – Nicola Sturgeon’s husband and the man he replaced in the top job.