THE UK Government has no political credibility if it tries to continue to insist Scotland’s future is in the “hands of the man behind the door of Downing Street”, the co-leader of the Scottish Greens has said.

Patrick Harvie said while UK ministers may try to now use legal arguments to block another referendum, the future of the country clearly “belongs in the hands of the people who live in Scotland”.

Speaking to the Sunday National at the election count in Glasgow last night, before the final results were in, he also played down the prospect of any coalition with the SNP – saying he wouldn’t be surprised if they decided to govern as a minority if there was that scenario again.

On the issue of another independence referendum, Harvie said UK ministers would claim to have legal arguments against it. But he added: “They clearly have no political credibility on the issue if it boils down to it that Scotland’s future is in the hands of the man behind the door of Number 10 Downing Street when we all know Scotland’s future belongs in the hands of the people who live in Scotland.

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“We’ll continue to make that case, it looks as though the majority of the Scottish Parliament will continue to make that case and certainly our members up and down the country will continue to make it as well.”

Polls had suggested the Greens would see record election results in this election, with predictions of as many as nine seats. In the end they overtook their previous best by one, picking up eight regional seats, including in Central Scotland where Gillian Mackay became the party’s first MSP.

Harvie said: “Central Scotland was the only part of Scotland where we have never had a Green MSP.

“So we have demonstrated that every part of Scotland is capable of electing Greens – that is really, really important.

“Gillian Mackay is going to be a terrific asset to our team in Central Scotland.”

He said it had been a “nerve-wracking” wait for the results in Glasgow, where candidate Kim Long missed out on taking a seat from the Tories by just a few hundred votes.

Harvie said: “It’s a record-breaking result for the Greens in terms of the number of votes cast, well over double what it took to get the first Green MSP elected when I gained my seat, so it’s frustrating.

“I suspect there will be some who encouraged people to vote for the SNP on the regional list recognising they were never likely to get a regional seat who might reflect now on whether that is the best strategy either for themselves or the independence movement.”

Harvie said the increase in votes was down to an active campaign, with the party getting hundreds of volunteers out.

He added: “I think there is a growing recognition, not just with the climate conference to Glasgow later this year but also with Scotland having repeatedly missed its own climate targets that we have to push the Scottish Government beyond its comfort zone sometimes.

“We’ll keep pushing, putting constructive ideas forward and trying to make sure the SNP are kept on their toes.”

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Throughout the election campaign, members of the SNP and Greens have been asked about a possible coalition in the event of no majority being secured and leaders on either side did not outright reject the idea.

Speaking during the election campaign, Nicola Sturgeon had said: “We have worked with the Greens in Budget negotiations for the duration of the parliament that has just passed, so I know we can work with the Greens on that kind of basis.” She stressed it would be a “hypothetical issue” until the election is over.

Harvie told the Sunday National: “We haven’t had discussions and it is entirely up to the First Minister if she wants to reach out and it would be up to our national party council to consider that if it happened. But given they governed as a minority last time, despite a pro-independence majority, and it’s been a stable arrangement and one where we have had the opportunity to make a real impact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they decided to continue as a minority.”