HUMZA Yousaf has said that voting for the Scottish Greens at the next General Election would be a “wasted vote”.

Speaking to The National in an exclusive interview, the First Minister urged Scots to vote SNP and “not split the pro-independence vote”.

The Scottish Greens, meanwhile, hit back with MSP Ross Greer (below) saying that people and the planet “don't have time to waste on voting for parties who are unwilling to take bold climate action”.

It comes after the Scottish Greens announced that a record number of candidates will stand for the party at the next General Election.

Co-leader Lorna Slater told their party conference in Edinburgh on Saturday that it is on course to smash its previous record of 31 candidates set in the 2015 General Election.

A party spokesperson also confirmed that number looks set to increase, with more candidates yet to be selected by branches.

Asked whether he thought this was concerning for the SNP and whether it could split the pro-independence vote, Yousaf told The National that he had a “great amount of time” for the Scottish Greens.

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“Of course they're partners of ours in government,” he said – referring to the Bute House Agreement, which saw the Scottish Greens enter government in 2021 to prop up the SNP.

“But in a Westminster election, particularly when we're facing a challenge from Labour, the danger of voting Greens – who are not going to win a single seat in the General Election in Scotland, I think they would be the first to admit that – is that would be a wasted vote.”

The SNP leader, speaking after three days of campaigning across Scotland, added: "If you want to advance the cause of independence, if you want a party that aligns with your values – whether that's social justice or on the climate or the wellbeing economy – then the SNP is the party that you need to be voting for.”

The National: Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer in the Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Greens’ Greer (above) said that every vote for his party “sends the strongest possible message to Westminster, that Scotland demands urgent action on the climate and nature emergencies”.

“The world is burning around us and sadly all other parties have proven unwilling to step up when needed to protect our common future,” he added.

“Only the Scottish Greens recognise that capitalism is the problem and that half-measures simply won't do in the face of the greatest threat we all face.

“Every vote for the Scottish Greens is a vote to put people and planet ahead of corporate profits and the greed of the super-rich. We are proud to give more voters than ever the chance to send shockwaves through Westminster by voting Scottish Greens this year.”

READ MORE: Patrick Harvie: General election needs to focus on climate

It comes a day after Patrick Harvie said the Scottish Greens will not seek an “electoral pact” with the SNP at the General Election.

The party’s co-leader said they were in favour of “political co-operation” and would try to work constructively with all Westminster parties.

But he said his party would be looking to put its own agenda on the table at the General Election to grow support for combating the climate crisis.

Harvie also previously rejected the notion his party fielding candidates in the General Election snatches away votes from the SNP and splits the Scottish independence vote.

In a BBC interview, Harvie was asked whether he felt any “responsibility” given some believe Green votes could be the difference between an SNP candidate winning and a Unionist candidate taking the spoils.

But he said he did not agree with the concept, as he hit out at people feeling “bullied” into supporting bigger parties because of the Westminster system.