LORNA Slater has said an SNP-Greens co-operation agreement is “worth the risk” for both parties.

The Scottish Greens co-leader made the comments during an appearance on BBC Scotland’s Sunday show, where she was grilled by presenter Martin Geissler.

Slater said that at this point both parties had agreed to enter into talks to find areas where they can agree, but no formal agreement had been struck.

The Lothian MSP said she was “a little surprised” by the First Minister extending an olive branch to the party, and that she is excited by a “willingness to enter grown-up politics”.

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Explaining how the co-operation agreement might work, Slater referenced New Zealand, where the Greens there have been in a similar situation with the ruling Labour administration for three parliamentary terms. 

Asked if the deal would be a coalition in all but name, Slater said: “No I wouldn’t use that word at all. Green parties around the world have different co-operation arrangements with governments and it doesn’t at all mean a coalition. 

“It could just be co-operation on specific areas, for example tackling the climate crisis while still being in opposition in some areas. We just don’t know which model might work for Scotland yet, all we’ve done is say we’ll look at the models available. 

“As an example you could look at maybe the New Zealand Greens, they’ve been in co-operation arrangements with the Labour government there for three parliamentary terms and each time they’ve had a different arrangement.

The National:

"Sometimes it's been with cabinet ministers, sometimes it's just been a confidence and supply arrangement, and sometimes a different model altogether.

“So, we’ll just have to see what kind of model might work in this instance.”

Geissler pointed out that the last coalition in the UK – between the Tories and LibDems in Westminster after the 2010 general election – did not work out so well for the junior party, as the LibDems have seen their vote share fall across the country in subsequent elections.

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But Slater said that she thought the risk is worth it, and said: “As the First Minister said there are risks for both parties in exposing ourselves and bringing ourselves to the table and saying look, we want to see if there’s areas where we can co-operate. 

“But this is a willingness to enter into grown-up politics, I think we have to take these risks in order to tackle the big issues on the table, economic recovery, the climate crisis, how we’re going to deal with the impact of Brexit, so it's worth it to take the risk to see if we can work together and come up with effective solutions to the crises that face us.”

The National:

And on how the Greens, who do have some major differences to SNP policies, could simulatenously be in government and opposed to government, Slater said: “This is why we aren’t using the word coalition because I’m not sure that we would, I’m not sure the conclusion of these talks is that we would end up in government.”

Pushed on whether the greens would expect junior ministerial posts, and herself specifically, as a result of the deal, Slater said: “I’ve been an MSP for three weeks, three weeks in the job, we can work our way up to it.

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"We are announcing our intention to enter into these talks so I don’t want to jump ahead and see what the conclusions might be. 

“The starting point is definitely looking at areas where we can co-operate, whether that comes to a very close arrangement, something where we’re working very closely, or whether it's only a few areas of policy we agree on, we just don’t know how that’s going to shape up yet. 

The National:

“But I am excited by the opportunity to have that kind of grown-up negotiation, consensus-building type politics. I think it makes a really big difference from the conflict based criticism and blame based politics that we see so much of, particularly in Westminster.”

We told last week how Nicola Sturgeon announced "groundbreaking talks" with the Scottish Greens and that informal discussions would be moved on to the “next stage”.