Scotland's First Minister Humza Yousaf faces vote of no confidence as powersharing deal between Greens and SNP collapses

Humza Yousaf has told the Scottish Greens the Bute House Agreement had been terminated (Sky News)
Humza Yousaf has told the Scottish Greens the Bute House Agreement had been terminated (Sky News)

The Scottish Greens have accused the SNP of an "act of political cowardice" after First Minister Humza Yousaf scrapped the powersharing deal between the two parties.

The Bute House Agreement was dropped following an emergency Cabinet meeting at Bute House in Edinburgh on Thursday morning.

Following the announcement the Scottish Conservative said they would lodge a motion for a vote of no confidence in Mr Yousaf.

The First Minister told the Scottish Green co-leaders he is "terminating" the Bute House Agreement with immediate effect.

He labelled the move a "new beginning" for his SNP minority Government adding that the deal had “served its purpose”.During a press conference at Bute House the First Minister said: "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.

"That is why, following a discussion with my Cabinet this morning, I have formally notified Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater that I am terminating the Bute House Agreement with immediate effect."Mr Yousaf had called the meeting of the Scottish cabinet following growing tensions between the SNP, which is the largest party at Holyrood, and the Scottish Greens, who are currently their junior partners in the Scottish Government.

Scottish Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, who were made junior ministers under the agreement, were seen walking out of Bute House before 8.30am on Thursday.

Ms Slater said: "This is an act of political cowardice by the SNP, who are selling out future generations to appease the most reactionary forces in the country.

"By ending the agreement in such a weak and thoroughly hopeless way, Humza Yousaf has signalled that when it comes to political co-operation, he can no longer be trusted."

Now the deal has been ended, the SNP will be forced to operate as a minority administration at Holyrood.

The Greens were angered when the Scottish Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan announced last week the Scottish Government was to ditch a key climate change target.

That, combined with the decision to pause the use of puberty blockers for new patients attending the only Scottish gender identity clinic for children in Glasgow, resulted in the Greens saying last week that they would have a vote on the future of the power-sharing deal.

But the agreement has ended before that could take place.

Ms Slater insisted the Green co-leaders had been "confident" their members would have backed staying in Government in the vote, and "continuing our work for Scotland".The deal, which was signed in 2021 and is named after the official residence of the Scottish First Minister in Edinburgh, brought the Green Party into government for the first time anywhere in the UK.

It gave the SNP a majority at Holyrood when the votes of its MSPs were combined with those of the seven Greens members.

High-profile figures in the SNP, such as former leadership candidate Kate Forbes and party stalwart Fergus Ewing, have previously called for the deal to be ended.

Mr Yousaf was the only candidate in the SNP leadership contest who supported continuing the deal, and he previously hailed it as being "worth its weight in gold".

Scottish Conservatives chairman Craig Hoy said scrapping the agreement highlights how "inept" Scotland's First Minister Humza Yousaf is.

Mr Hoy said: "The collapse of this toxic coalition is an utter humiliation for Humza Yousaf, who hailed it as 'worth its weight in gold' and continued to back it to the hilt right until the end.

"The First Minister's judgment is so poor that he couldn't see what a malign influence the anti-growth Greens have been in government and his authority so weak that he was bounced into this U-turn by his own MSPs.

"It beggars belief that the Greens were invited into government in the first place - but even more astonishing that Humza Yousaf allowed them to call the shots on issues like abandoning oil and gas, further delays to dualling the A9 and A96, devastating fishing curbs and gender ideology.

"Humza Yousaf's year as SNP leader has been a disastrous mix of scandals, infighting and policy U-turns. The collapse of the powersharing pact he staked his reputation on is not just humiliating, it highlights once again how inept and out of his depth he is."