An SNP backbencher has said a “fresh look” should be taken at her party’s agreement with the Greens, in the wake of the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election.
Michelle Thomson said the SNP needs to improve its messaging and questioned whether the agreement with the smaller pro-independence party was popular.
Humza Yousaf has promised the SNP will “reflect, regroup and reorganise” following the defeat, which saw Labour’s Michael Shanks win on a swing of 20.4%.
Thomson, MSP for Falkirk East, was campaign manager for Yousaf’s rival Kate Forbes in the leadership contest earlier this year.
Speaking to the BBC’s Sunday Show, she said Yousaf should “absolutely” remain the leader.
She added: “I do make the proviso, and I’ve said that before, that we need to look at our policies, we need to look at the proposition and we need to look at the messaging.
“We need to be speaking for the people of Scotland.
“We’ve got more work to do to acknowledge the result in the by-election.”
The Bute House Agreement signed after the last Scottish Parliament election brought the Greens into government for the first time, gaining two ministers in a co-operation deal with the SNP.
Asked if the SNP should drop this, Thomson said: “I would hope as part of the review that a fresh look is made at the arrangement with the Greens, I’m not sure how popular it is.
“But remember I’m only here as a backbencher, it is not my say so, it is Humza Yousaf’s.”
Ahead of the SNP conference later this month, Thomson said there should be a renewed focus on the cost-of-living crisis.
Her comments were seized upon by the Scottish Conservatives, who said the power-sharing agreement should be scrapped.
Party chairman Craig Hoy said: “Michelle Thomson is just the latest senior SNP figure to call for Humza Yousaf to think again about his toxic and destructive partnership with the extremist Greens.
“She, like the country, can see the deeply damaging influence Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater are having on Scotland.
“On a host of policies – including vital road upgrades, the future of oil and gas, crippling fishing restrictions, gender self-ID and the bungled deposit return scheme – the Greens are either pulling the SNP in the wrong direction or out of their depth.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Greens said: “Our co-operation agreement allows us to support families through the cost-of-living crisis, lift children out of poverty, and face up to the realities of the climate crisis.
“On a weekend when large swathes of the country have been impacted by floods, landslides and disruption caused by abnormally severe weather, when emergency services, council teams and others are working in horrendous conditions to keep us safe, it should be obvious that tackling the root causes of climate breakdown and preparing for its future effects must be a top priority.
“Having Scottish Greens in government ensures that is the case, and having a pro-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament means we can challenge the kind of appalling, planet-wrecking decisions we are witnessing from politicians at Westminster.”
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