A senior SNP MSP has questioned the party’s co-operation agreement with the Scottish Greens after the shock loss of a Westminster seat to Labour.
SNP needs to improve its messaging, says Thomson
Michelle Thomson, MSP for Falkirk East, said the SNP needs to look at its policies, proposition and messaging after the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election result. She said the party needs to speak for the people of Scotland and acknowledge the defeat. She also said she supports Humza Yousaf as the leader, despite being a rival campaign manager in the leadership contest earlier this year.
Greens deal not popular, suggests Thomson
Thomson also suggested that the Bute House Agreement, which brought the Greens into government for the first time, may not be popular among voters. She said she hopes that a fresh look is made at the arrangement with the Greens as part of the review. She added that she is only a backbencher and it is not her say so.
Tories seize on Thomson’s comments
The Scottish Conservatives seized on Thomson’s comments and called for scrapping the power-sharing agreement. They said the Greens are having a deeply damaging influence on Scotland and are pulling the SNP in the wrong direction or out of their depth. They cited several policies where they disagree with the Greens, such as road upgrades, oil and gas, fishing restrictions, gender self-ID and deposit return scheme.
Greens defend co-operation agreement
The Scottish Greens defended their co-operation agreement and said it allows them to support families through the cost-of-living crisis, lift children out of poverty and face up to the realities of the climate crisis. They said that on a weekend when large swathes of the country have been impacted by floods, landslides and disruption caused by abnormally severe weather, it should be obvious that tackling the root causes of climate breakdown and preparing for its future effects must be a top priority. They said having Greens in government ensures that and having a pro-independence majority in the parliament means they can challenge the planet-wrecking decisions from Westminster.
SNP conference to focus on cost-of-living crisis
Ahead of the SNP conference later this month, Thomson said there should be a renewed focus on the cost-of-living crisis. She said the party needs to address the issues that matter to people, such as energy bills, food prices, wages and public services. She said the party also needs to reaffirm its commitment to independence and democracy.
What will happen next?
The SNP’s defeat in Rutherglen and Hamilton West has raised questions about its strategy, leadership and alliance with the Greens. The party faces a challenge to regain trust and confidence from voters ahead of the next elections. The party also faces pressure from Westminster over its demand for a second independence referendum. The outcome of these issues will shape Scotland’s future.