MSPS return to Holyrood this week after the summer recess with a series of major developments and debates due to take place in the coming days, according to the Scottish Parliament’s business agenda.

Normally the First Minister reveals her legislative programme or programme for government in the first week. However, this key event has been pushed back to September 7 because of the need to finalise the co-operation agreement with the Scottish Greens.

Instead, Nicola Sturgeon is due make a statement on the SNP’s new power-sharing arrangement in Holyrood tomorrow.

The new partnership will see the Greens enter government for the first time anywhere in the UK, with them and the SNP agreeing a pledge to hold a second independence referendum in the first half of the parliament – so long as the Covid pandemic has passed.

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It also covers agreed commitments on a raft of policy areas, including tackling the climate emergency, swift reform of the Gender Recognition Act and rent controls.

Under the arrangement, public disagreement between the parties will only be allowed on a set of agreed topics such as aviation policy, green ports, direct financial support to businesses involved in the aerospace, defence and security sectors, field sports, and the economic principles related to concepts of sustainable growth and inclusive growth.

As part of the pact, the First Minister will nominate the Scottish Greens’ co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater as junior ministers in her government.

Immediately after Sturgeon’s statement on the co-operation agreement, MSPs will debate the deal, with the 31 Scottish Tory MSPs poised to vote against the Greens joining the Government in ministerial roles.

However, given the SNP and Greens have a parliamentary majority, the appointments of Harvie and Slater is expected to be approved by MSPs. Tomorrow afternoon has al so been earmarked for a Scottish Government debate on its first 100 days in power since the election and the policies delivered during the SNP’s record fourth term in power.

MSPs are expected to vote on a motion at 6pm on what is expected to be a heated debate.

Wednesday will also see a busy day in the chamber.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney will take questions at 2pm on Covid recovery, with a statement on the pandemic from the First Minister expected to start at 2.50pm and last around an hour.

Scotland has seen a record surge in new daily cases recorded of Covid-19 in recent days with figures released yesterday showing 7113 new cases. It overtook Friday’s previous high of 6835 and marked an all-time high.

It was the third time last week that a new record had been set as the Scottish Government warned the situation is “fragile”.

The First Minister last Tuesday warned that reimposing restrictions could not be “completely” ruled out, though she dismissed reports on Friday that the

Government was currently considering introducing a circuit-breaker lockdown to stop the spread of the virus.

Close consideration will be given over the coming days and weeks on how hospitals are coping and whether the rising number of Covid patients needing hospital Care is putting the NHS under pressure.

On Thursday, there will be a debate on the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, as well as the weekly return of First Minister’s Questions.

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Ahead of FMQs, Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone will have to determine whether the Greens will be given a slot as the third-biggest opposition party to press Sturgeon on policies, or whether the co-operation deal will mean their leaders lose this spot.

Under the new social distancing rules, 100 MSPs will be able to take their seats in the debating chamber.

The remaining 29 MSPs can use the public gallery where the Scottish Parliament has installed microphones.

Before the summer recess, only 70 MSPs were allowed in the chamber.