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The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Xander Elliards

Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater face being ousted as Scottish Green leaders

Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie are both co-leaders of the Scottish Greens and ministers in the Scottish Government. Photo: PA

PATRICK Harvie and Lorna Slater face being ousted as leaders of the Scottish Greens under a motion submitted to the party’s annual general meeting (AGM).

The Scottish Greens will hold a hybrid conference on October 15 and 16 in Dundee, with the party holding its AGM two days before on October 13. The first agenda for this was sent to party members on Tuesday evening.

On the agenda, which is a “full text of the constitutional and related motions submitted and accepted … for debate at the General Meeting” but may yet be revised, is a motion which would force Harvie and Slater to quit as party leaders or resign as government ministers.

Proposing an amendment to section 4.3 of the Scottish Greens’ constitution, the motion text states: “No major officer position can be held by an active government minister.

“When a major officer is appointed as a government minister, they will be required to vacate their major officer post by next the [sic] General Meeting.”

The proposal for the motion says it would “would emulate our highly successful sister party in Germany, Alliance 90/The Greens, by separating party leadership positions from ministerial offices”.

It goes on: “This model allows ministers to focus on the considerable work involved in running government departments.

“The separation of these roles also allows the party’s major officers to openly disagree with the government, where appropriate. This gives party members a greater voice on issues of concern, on policies that may be added to the excluded areas of the cooperation agreement and allows party officers to better focus on their constitutional roles.”

However, it is unclear whether the motion will pass, with insiders telling The National they would not back it.

Bryan Quinn, a Scottish Green councillor in Clackmannanshire, said: “It doesn’t make sense to me. It makes sense that if you are the leadership figure in the party you should also be in leadership roles in the government.

“We are in a cooperation agreement [with the SNP in the Scottish Government]. If you want to have ministers, and then leaders criticising our ministers, then it isn’t going to work.”

Both Harvie and Slater were handed ministerial roles in the Scottish Government at the end of August 2021 after Scottish Green members voted to accept a proposed cooperation agreement with the SNP.

Harvie became the Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights while Slater took the role of Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity.

Both were elected co-leaders of the Scottish Green party in August 2019.

A Scottish Green party spokesperson said: “All motions will be debated on by party members this October, where we are looking forward to welcoming back attendees in person as well as those participating online.”

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