Green politicians are poised to join a government for the first time in the UK after Scottish Greens members voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of a power-sharing deal with the SNP.
In an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) involving a two-hour debate, the majority of members voted to support the deal, which will see co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater become government ministers
The Scottish Greens’ Party Council is now expected to rubber-stamp the historic move by voting to approve it with a two-thirds majority.
With proxy votes still to be counted, 715 members (88.5%) had backed the deal, 84 (10.4%) voted against, and nine (1.1%) abstained.
The party’s co-leaders will become ministers in exchange for their party backing the Scottish government in confidence votes and annual budgets.
The two parties are expected to work together on a raft of agreed policy areas, including tackling the climate emergency, Scottish independence, and rent controls.
Public dissent between the two would only be acceptable on pre-determined topics, including aviation policy, green ports, direct financing of aerospace businesses, defence, and security sectors and sustainable economic growth.
But Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer insisted during the EGM that the list of subjects would be up for discussion should the relationship improve or worsen.
The co-leaders told the party before the vote that the agreement would be good for the country and its battle against the climate crisis and contained “transformational” policies such as implementing rent controls.
On Twitter, the Green Party called it a “historic” decision.
First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said when she jointly announced the proposals on 20 August that this would not be a coalition, but “about doing politics and governance better”.
She tweeted she was looking forward to “building a greener, fairer, independent Scotland”.
The parties negotiated the deal over the summer after the SNP missed out by one seat on an overall majority in May’s election.
The shared policy platform includes an agreement to pursue another vote on Scottish independence before the end of 2023, if the threat of coronavirus has subsided.
The Scottish Conservatives branded the deal as creating a “coalition of chaos” focused on independence, while Scottish Labour called the “coalition of cuts” a “disaster for Scotland”.
SNP members also backed the deal following a non-binding consultation, with 94.9% of votes cast in support of the power-sharing agreement.