THE SNP’s governing partnership with the Greens is not the reason the party are seeing their popularity drop, a polling expert has insisted.

A raft of SNP politicians including Fergus Ewing, Kate Forbes and Joanna Cherry have said the Bute House Agreement should be reviewed or renegotiated, with Ewing branding the Greens “hard-left extremists” that have “tarnished” his party.

But Professor John Curtice has dismissed the idea that the deal is the main reason why the SNP have seen a shift in the polls. 

He told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland: “We have had three opinion polls, which have asked people whether or not they think the arrangement is good for Scotland.

“It won’t surprise you to hear given we are talking about the two parties that in May 2021 got half of the vote between them in the Holyrood election, that the opinion polls are also divided.

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“Two polls had more people thinking it was bad, and one had it the other way around. The truth is a lot of the people who say it is bad are the people who didn’t vote for the SNP or the Greens back in the Scottish Parliament election.”

Curtice has instead continued to insist that the SNP leadership contest is what has inflicted the most damage to the party.

In a piece for Bylines Scotland last week, Curtice said it was actually the main culprit amid speculation that other events have caused the SNP’s fortunes to change, including the arrests of Nicola Sturgeon and Peter Murrell.

“A lot of other things have been going on, like the change in the SNP leader and the leadership election, which doesn’t seem to have done the SNP any good," he said.

“If we look at the timeline of when SNP support went down, it was slipping a bit before Nicola Sturgeon resigned and it has slipped a bit since, but primarily it was during the leadership contest and the election of Humza Yousaf.

“It is up to them to look at their partners in government, and the SNP is not looking at the principle source of their political difficulties.”

The agreement was signed in 2021 and made Green MSPs Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater junior ministers in the Scottish Government.

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But a number of policies championed by the Greens including gender reform and the Deposit Return Scheme have led to splits within the SNP.

MP Cherry said at a Fringe event last week it should be renegotiated and discussed by the party, adding that the SNP should not fear a review of something that should “perhaps be terminated or made better”.

She later dismissed “misleading” headlines that suggested she said it should be “ripped up”.

Forbes, meanwhile, has called for a party conference debate on the issue but has said she would not want a vote that simply said “Greens out or Greens in”.

She told Iain Dale and Jacqui Smith’s For the Many Live show last week that she wants to debate the substance of the deal, insisting that “co-operation matters”.