THE SNP are set to continue to govern as a minority administration in Holyrood with the party ruling out a coalition arrangement with the Scottish Greens, The National can reveal.

During the election campaign, the Greens’ co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater made clear their party was open to a deal which could see their MSPs take on Cabinet roles.

But some 11 days after the election, no formal talks have taken place between the two parties.

The SNP won a landslide victory in the election on May 6, taking 64 seats in Holyrood, just one short of an overall majority. The Tories netted 31 MSPs, Labour 22, the Greens eight and the LibDems four.

On Tuesday, Nicola Sturgeon will be formally re-elected in Holyrood to her role as First Minister and will unveil a re-shuffle of her Cabinet and ministerial team in the coming days.

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It is thought the election of the Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone (below) to the politically neutral role of Presiding Officer last week may have helped persuade the SNP against having a formal relationship with the party.

The National:

Johnstone’s election to the role means that the parliamentary arithmetic is split evenly between the government and opposition – 64 to 64.

The Presiding Officer is also expected to back the status quo if a vote on a no-confidence motion is tied, meaning the Government would have a majority of one in any such crucial votes.

Several SNP sources told The National that the party would not be forming a coalition with the Greens.

An SNP spokesperson said: “The SNP has been returned to Holyrood as the party of government with an increased number of MSPs and an overwhelming endorsement of Nicola Sturgeon’s exemplary leadership.

“The First Minister has already been back at her desk to guide the country through the continuing pandemic while starting the nation’s process of recovery and building back better.

“This is our fourth consecutive term of office and there is much to do. The SNP Scottish Government is fully committed to delivering on the promises made to the Scottish people in the election campaign.”

In addition to the parliamentary numbers, there were also policy differences which may have made a coalition difficult.

During a television debate, Harvie (below) indicated he would demand the end of North Sea oil and gas production within a decade during any SNP coalition talks. However, the Scottish Government, while committed to achieving a carbon net-zero nation by 2045, favour a more gradual ending of oil production.

The National:

The SNP manifesto said that oil and gas remained “an important part of our energy mix” but pledged to move to cleaner fuels.

After the election, Slater also made clear the SNP would need to go further and faster on scaling back North Sea production.

“The oil and gas sector needs to decline and be phased out – there is no question about that,” she said.

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“The SNP have not yet committed to ever stopping oil and gas extraction and I believe it was still ‘maximum extraction’ from them, which is not reasonable. It’s not safe and it is not in line with our international agreements under the Paris Agreement. We know what we would do and we know what we would push them to do.”

The Greens also backed increasing income tax for wealthier Scots and the introduction of a “millionaire’s tax” – another policy not backed by the SNP in their manifesto.

The lack of coalition may disappoint some SNP supporters – a survey published on Sunday found more than half of the party’s voters thought the parties should join forces.