SENIOR SNP figures have reportedly opened the door to a coalition government with the Scottish Greens even if Nicola Sturgeon’s party does win a majority in the spring elections in a move to form a “super majority” for a second independence referendum, it has emerged.

The development comes after Patrick Harvie revealed to The National he was open to such an arrangement and wanted to be in government following the Holyrood election on May 6.

According to a report yesterday, SNP strategists believe the Greens should be handed ministerial roles for the first time, enabling Holyrood to claim a “super majority” for a new vote on independence. Reports say a coalition is being considered, even if the SNP wins a narrow majority.

It would be the first SNP/Green coalition government in Scotland and the first coalition in Edinburgh since 2007 when an SNP minority government succeeded Labour/Lib Dem administrations which had been in power since 1999.

Earlier this month, Harvie set out an ambition to form a pro-independence coalition government with the SNP – having in some previous elections not been enthusiastic about the possibility.

Asked by The National about the possibility of being in coalition with the SNP come May, Harvie said earlier this month: “Greens are in government in a number of other European countries. Greens want to be in government in this country as well because we know we have the ideas that can transform society for the better ... and we have ideas that deserve to be put into practice.”

READ MORE: Patrick Harvie open to coalition Yes government with SNP after May elections

Yesterday, the Sunday Times reported SNP strategists were positive about the prospect and believe it would help refresh the Scottish Government after 14 years in power and underline their environmental credentials in the run-up to the COP26 global climate change conference due to take place in Glasgow this November.

Polling conducted last week – before leaked reports emerged which said a Holyrood inquiry found Nicola Sturgeon had misled Parliament after giving “an inaccurate account” of her actions (a finding the First Minister’s disputes) – suggested that the SNP could emerge from May’s election one seat short of a majority.

Working with the Greens would give the pro-independence side stability and, well-placed SNP figures believe, a stronger hand with “a solid constitutional majority” to present to Boris Johnson when seeking support for a second referendum. Johnson has repeatedly said he will refuse to grant permission for this.

SNP sources, accustomed to striking deals with the Greens to get business through Holyrood as a minority administration, are positive about how the Greens have operated as a smaller partner in Ireland’s coalition involving Fine Gael and Fianna Fail since last summer. There, the party has been behind a climate action bill, committing Ireland to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

One senior SNP figure told the Sunday Times: “We wouldn’t propose it but, if the Greens wanted it, then it would be hard to resist. It was talked about in 2007, but at that time they didn’t want it. It works in other places like Ireland and other parts of Europe.”

Another senior SNP source said: “It would give us a super- majority on independence adding weight when we’re talking to the UK Government.”

The Greens, who were also considered as coalition partners by Labour in 2003 as part of a potential “traffic-light pact” with the LibDems, might expect a cabinet post on the environment, a junior equalities minister and a Green presiding officer in a deal. Green policies that could be adopted would include cutting transport emissions by higher motoring charges and expanding free public transport.

The party also favours a ban on new oil exploration licences in the North Sea and a new approach to local taxation based on land values.