A power-sharing deal which has put the Greens into government for the first time in the UK gives the party the chance to “show we can deliver”, one of its co-leaders has said.
Lorna Slater has joined the Scottish Government under a co-operation deal agreed between her party and the SNP.
It gives the Greens two junior ministerial positions in Nicola Sturgeon’s administration, but Slater said the party’s five remaining MSPs will still be able to act as if they are in opposition.
She said: “The Scottish Greens are in a very fortunate position here, the co-operation agreement we have negotiated, based on the model of the New Zealand Greens with Jacinda Ardern’s government, there is a mix of in and out.
“We’ve got two Government ministers now with broad portfolios, on very key areas to do with climate and social justice, but at the same time we have still five MSPs who are able to speak as opposition MSPs, and I think this is a powerful position for us to be in.”
Slater, a Lothian MSP, has become the new minister for green skills, the circular economy and biodiversity.
Her fellow Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie is now the minister for zero carbon buildings, active travel and tenants’ rights.
With the party now in Government, Holyrood Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone has ruled the Greens are no longer entitled to a leaders’ question at the weekly First Minister’s Questions sessions.
The Greens’ short money – the funds paid to parties in order to carry out parliamentary duties – is also being reduced.
Slater said the deal gives the Scottish Greens an “opportunity to show we can deliver, that we can as part of a Government deliver a successful programme”.
The agreement sets out “clear deliverables” for investing in railways, creating a new national park and upgrading homes to make them more energy efficient, she told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme.
She added there are “various mechanisms” included in the new arrangement for “managing disagreements” between the two parties.
Slater said: “What we really want to do is engage in grown up politics, and the agreement itself has this ‘agree to disagree’ section, so we know there are things on which we are not going to agree with the Scottish Government, but we have agreed to put those aside and focus on the areas where we do agree, and I think that is what voters want to see.
“They want to see practical actions, they want to see their town centres transformed so that kids can safely cycle to school, they want to see apprentices in jobs in renewable energy.
“These are the things we are going to work together to deliver and if points come up we disagree on, we’ve got mechanisms in that agreement to work through them.”
Sturgeon has called the deal “genuinely ground breaking”, while Slater described it as a “new type of politics”.
The Green added: “The Scottish Government have recognised that the climate crisis is an emergency so they have brought in a bit of extra expertise.
“We have some really good policies, practical things for tackling the climate crisis, and we think it is better to work together to tackle the climate crisis through practical means like upgrading people’s homes, like investing in Scotland’s railways.
“These things will create jobs, they will reduce people’s cost of living and at the same time they will tackle the climate crisis.”