• Saturday, June 15, 2024

UK News

Yousaf to lead minority government as coalition collapses

Scotland’s first minister Humza Yousaf (Chris Jackson/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo)

By: Pramod Thomas

THE leader of Scotland’s pro-independence SNP party on Thursday (25) ended a coalition deal with the Greens, leaving him at the head of a minority government in Edinburgh.

The announcement by First Minister Humza Yousaf came a week after the devolved government abandoned an ambitious climate pledge sparking tension with its junior partner.

It is the latest setback for the SNP, which has been hit by internal squabbling, resignations, fraud claims and a fall in support before this year’s UK general election.

Yousaf, who took over from Nicola Sturgeon in March last year, denied that the end of the deal made him a lame duck leader, insisting it showed “leadership” to recognise it was no longer working.

He told reporters the decision had been made “following a discussion with my cabinet this morning”.

“After careful consideration I believe that going forward… it’s in the best interest of the people of Scotland to pursue a different arrangement,” he said.

“I have terminated the Bute House Agreement with immediate effect,” he said, admitting that ruling as a minority government would be “tough” but promising to work with all parties in parliament.

The SNP-Greens deal, known as the Bute House Agreement after the Scottish first minister’s official residence in Edinburgh, was signed in 2021.

It brought the Green party into government for the first time anywhere in the UK, where devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have limited powers in areas such as environment, health, transport and social policy.

It also gave the SNP a majority at the parliament at Holyrood when the votes of its members of Scottish parliament were combined with those of the seven Greens members, crucially on independence.

The Scottish Greens also support breaking away from the rest of the UK.

As part of the deal, Greens co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater were made junior ministers.

The collapse of the deal comes after the Scottish government announced on April 18 that it would scrap its target to reduce carbon emissions by 75 per cent by 2030 after the UK’s climate change advisory committee described it as “beyond credible”.

The UK Climate Change Committee (CCC) last month sharply criticised Scotland for repeatedly failing to achieve its climate targets.

The required acceleration in emissions reduction in Scotland was now “beyond what is credible”, due to inadequate efforts in areas including home heating, transport, farming and nature restoration, it said.

Yousaf vowed that the country would still meet its target of reaching net zero by 2045.


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