DOUGLAS Ross has urged John Swinney to abandon independence and rule out any form of deal with the Scottish Greens in a bizarre letter to the presumptive next first minister of Scotland. 

Swinney is expected to be crowned leader of the SNP when nominations close on Monday after Kate Forbes ruled herself out of running in a leadership election. 

However, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Douglas Ross, accused the SNP of a "stitch up" in an inflammatory letter to Swinney on Friday. 

"As you will be very much aware, the SNP Government's continued campaigning for independence after the 2014 referendum has led to a decade of division in Scotland," he said. 

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"It has also meant that government has been distracted from the issues that really matter to the Scottish public, such as our key public services and economy.  

“As it appears that you have already won your party’s leadership contest, it is now essential that you set the right tone should you be elected as first minister next week, one which appeals to the whole of Scotland, not just SNP members. 

"As such, you should make it inescapably clear that independence is no longer a priority for your government. This can be achieved next week by: 

  • Dismissing the Minister for Independence and removing that ministerial portfolio from government. 
  • Abandoning the 'Building a new Scotland' series of independence papers and repurposing civil service resources away from work relating to independence 
  • Stating that you will not make any referendum request to the UK Government for your duration of your time in office. 

"This would free up government time and strategic direction to focus on the many failings in government of the SNP over the past 17 years - which you have played a key role in". 

Ross also urged the potential future first minister to rule out a deal with the Scottish Greens, who he called “extreme” and “anti-economic growth”.

He added that  Green MSPs should not be appointed as ministers – as had been the case under the Bute House Agreement – and he called on the Scottish Government to commit to support new oil and gas licences in the North Sea and to “major road upgrades”, such as dualling the A9 and A96.

A Green MSP has already said a new Bute House Agreement, or similar deal, is “very, very unlikely” to come to fruition under Mr Swinney.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland on Friday, Gillian Mackay said: “I think the likelihood is that we will be engaging on an issue by issue basis with whoever it is that is in the first minister’s seat in the coming weeks.”

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A spokesperson for John Swinney said that while the SNP was committed to engaging with all parties in Holyrood, Ross's letter was not an "accurate assessment" of the SNP's record in government. 

They said: “If elected as first minister, Mr Swinney has committed to engaging in substantive and meaningful dialogue with all parties in the Scottish Parliament.

“No reasonable individual could conclude that Douglas Ross’s letter is an accurate assessment of the SNP’s record or a helpful contribution to public discourse.”