The leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Douglas Ross, has said that some SNP MSPs have approached him to cooperate on opposing the Scottish Government led by Humza Yousaf. He claimed that there was growing frustration within the SNP over the direction of the party and the coalition with the Scottish Greens.
Why are some SNP MSPs unhappy?
According to Ross, some SNP MSPs have expressed concerns about the policies and priorities of the Scottish Government, especially on issues affecting the Highlands and islands. He cited the example of former finance secretary Kate Forbes, who criticised Holyrood for ignoring the needs of her constituency. He also mentioned Fergus Ewing, who was suspended from the SNP for rebelling against the leadership.
What does Ross want from the SNP rebels?
Ross said that he had spoken to and contacted some SNP backbenchers who were keen to hold the SNP to account. He urged them to decide what was more important: backing Humza Yousaf and the SNP’s agenda for independence, or standing up for their constituents who have been let down by the SNP after 16 years in power. He said he hoped that some of them would join him in any future vote against the continuation of the Bute House Agreement, the partnership that has placed the Scottish Greens in government.
How has the SNP responded to Ross’s claims?
The SNP has not yet commented on Ross’s claims, but it is likely that they will dismiss them as baseless and desperate. The SNP has a strong majority in the Scottish Parliament, with 64 seats out of 129, and the support of the eight Green MSPs. The Scottish Conservatives have 31 seats, followed by Labour with 22, the Liberal Democrats with four, and one independent. The SNP has also consistently led in the opinion polls, with the latest survey showing a 14-point lead over the Tories.
What are the implications of Ross’s claims for Scottish politics?
Ross’s claims may be seen as an attempt to sow division and discord within the SNP, and to present himself as a credible alternative to Humza Yousaf. However, they may also backfire and alienate some potential voters who are wary of his alliance with Rishi Sunak and the UK Government. Ross has faced criticism for his stance on issues such as HS2, Brexit, and the Covid-19 pandemic. He has also struggled to gain popularity and recognition among the Scottish public, with some polls showing him trailing behind other opposition leaders.
What will happen next?
It remains to be seen whether Ross’s claims will have any impact on the SNP or the Scottish Government. It is unlikely that any SNP MSPs will defect to the Tories or vote against their own party on crucial issues. However, there may be some internal dissent and debate within the SNP over the direction and strategy of the party, especially in the run-up to the next Scottish Parliament election in 2026. The SNP will also have to contend with the challenges and opportunities posed by the Bute House Agreement, which may entail some compromises and concessions on both sides.