THE Scottish Greens took aim at Kate Forbes’s position as Deputy First Minister in the first FMQs since the new SNP leadership team took over.

It came as John Swinney fielded questions from opposition MSPs in the Scottish parliament in his debut as First Minister.

Patrick Harvie, the co-leader of the Scottish Greens, raised concerns about Forbes’s appointment as Swinney’s deputy.

Harvie said: “The Scottish Greens have been clear that we acknowledge the SNP’s right to form a minority government, but we’ve been equally clear that the First Minister must quickly give a signal of the direction his government will take.

“Yesterday that signal came pretty clearly – progressive ministers sacked, and the second most powerful job in Government given to someone who has opposed LGBT people’s legal equality, who has expressed judgemental attitudes to abortion, and who has even expressed the view that people who have families without being married are doing something wrong.

“Is this the Scottish Government’s vision for the future of Scotland – taking us back to the repressive values of the 1950s?”

Responding, Swinney insisted the SNP would govern from a “moderate left-of-centre position” and that Forbes’s views on social issues would not impact on party policy.

The First Minister said: “No, it's not. It's not the direction of the Scottish Government.

READ MORE: Scots 'will be concerned' to see Kate Forbes as Deputy First Minister, Greens say

“The government will be led from the moderate left-of-centre position that I have always occupied and which is the policy position of my party and which is supported by all of our members.

“I set out last Thursday, a week ago today, when I announced my candidacy for the leadership of my party, that I wanted to build on the work of the SNP government to create a modern, diverse, dynamic Scotland that will ensure opportunity for all of our citizens.

“And on Tuesday I made it clear to the people of Scotland in my closing words in my speech of acceptance, that I offer myself to be the First Minister for everyone in Scotland – and that is precisely what I will do.”

Speaking to journalists afterwards, Forbes said should would aim to "further and progress the rights of every community in Scotland".

She added: “Not just that, but when I joined Government yesterday in a clear role to support the First Minister, I signed up to collective responsibility, so I stand by the Government’s decisions and agenda to improve and progress the rights of all of Scotland’s communities.”

At FMQs, Harvie further pushed the Scottish Government on whether the progressive taxation bands introduced under the Bute House Agreement would continue.

The National: Patrick Harvie threatened to resign if Scottish Green Party members voted to end the Bute House Agreement

He said: “I’m not yet sure that the First Minister acknowledges or understands just how worried many LGBT people and others are in Scotland at the moment.

“It’s not only equality and human rights that are at stake here; the new Deputy First Minister has explicitly criticised the role of fairer, progressive taxation.”

He added: “Does the First Minister accept that continuing on the path of progressive taxation will be more important than ever? Will that progress continue, or will the First Minister give in to the right-wing of his party?”

READ MORE: John Swinney addresses ending 'minister for independence' role

In his response, Swinney said it was “a matter of history and record that the Deputy First Minister was responsible for introducing progressive taxes in Scotland”.

He went on: “Kate Forbes took those budget decisions, sought the agreement of the Cabinet, and they were put to Parliament.

“And I welcome the fact that our colleagues in the Green Party supported the measures that the government brought forward.”