SCOTTISH Greens members have petitioned the party to hold a special meeting to debate the future Bute House agreement amid the SNP leadership contest.

With Kate Forbes, Humza Yousaf and Ash Regan all in the running to become the next first minister, speculation around the future of the SNP-Green co-operation deal has been rife.

Yousaf, the Scottish Health Secretary, has insisted he is the only candidate in the running who can ensure the powersharing deal continues, while Forbes has said she is committed to the agreement.

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Elsewhere, Regan exclusively told The National she wasn’t “scared” of running an SNP minority government in the event the Greens pull out of the deal. Regan quit her post as community safety minister in protest against the Scottish Government's gender reforms, and said she would ditch the bill if she became leader, a key strand of the agreement for the junior party. 

We previously told how the SNP’s policy convener raised fears that if Forbes, the current front runner in the race according to polling, wins the contest, the Bute House deal will be torn up.

Forbes's comments that she wouldn’t have voted for gay marriage and that she wouldn’t legally challenge the Section 35 order which blocked Scotland’s gender reforms from becoming law, another policy she said she wouldn’t vote for, sparked criticism from some within the Scottish Greens.

The National: The Bute House agreement brought the Scottish Greens into government for the first timeThe Bute House agreement brought the Scottish Greens into government for the first time

And now, we can reveal that the Green's Trade Union Group (TUG) have petitioned the executive to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) in early April to discuss the future of the agreement.

In an email seen by The National, Scottish Greens TUG conveners Niall Christie and Jen Bell wrote to party members over “concerns” in some aspects of the Bute House deal.

It reads: “We are now calling for the party to hold an EGM, to be held in early April. With the change of leadership at the head of the Scottish Government, our members must have an opportunity to debate whether the cooperation agreement, as it stands, is in our party’s best interests, and to change it as needed.

“We cannot allow the Scottish Greens to be passengers, bound to the whims of whoever prevails in the race to be First Minister.”

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It is understood that the petition will require at least one hundred signatures from party members before the executive will consider the request.

In a letter set to be sent to the Scottish Greens executive, if the threshold for signatures is met, the co-conveners added that the co-operation agreement allows for proposals and amendments to be made by MSPs and policies can be added to the list of excluded items.

This currently includes areas such as freeports, game hunting and aviation.

The letter reads: “As the Cooperation Agreement was ratified by a General Meeting, a General Meeting will be required to change it. Members will require no less than four weeks notice to prepare motions, arrange schedules and allow for anyone with caring or childcare responsibilities to ensure they can attend.

"For these reasons, and above all, by our democratic right as members: 'We the undersigned invoke Article 3.1.6c of the SGP Constitution, and call for an Extraordinary General Meeting to debate the future of the Bute House Agreement, to be held in the week beginning Monday, April 3, 2023'.

“We look forward to discussing the impact that Scottish Greens can have at Holyrood - both as a party of government and as a Group of ecosocialist MSPs in their own right.”

A party source told The National they “doubt” that the petition will gather enough signatures to allow the EGM to go ahead.

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However, they did note that there had been “pushback” in various party circles around the Bute House agreement amid the SNP leadership contest.

A party spokesperson said: “The Scottish Greens remain fully committed to delivering on the values and policies included in the Bute House Agreement which we negotiated with the Scottish Government and which both parties and their members voted overwhelmingly to support.

“With Scottish Greens in government we have introduced an emergency freeze on rents and protections from eviction, free bus travel for everyone under 22 and delivered the greenest budget in the history of the Scottish Parliament.

“Any member can propose a motion for consideration and debate by following the correct democratic party process.”