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Historic Holyrood deal marks 'coming of age for Green politics', says Chapman

By Alan Beresford

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THE co-operation agreement between the Greens and the SNP could be the catalyst for transformative action, North East Green MSP Maggie Chapman has stated.

North East Scottish Green Party MSP Maggie Chapman.
North East Scottish Green Party MSP Maggie Chapman.

Ms Chapman has hailed the agreement which sees the Scottish Greens become the first Green parity in the UK to take governmental roles.

Scottish Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater are now serving as Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants' Rights and Minister for Green Skills, circular economy and Biodiversity respectively.

In another first, the Greens' Alison Johnstone MSP was elected as presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament. She relinquished her party affiliation on assuming the role.

The deal has also cemented a formidable 71-57 pro-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament, the SNP's 64 seat haul from May's Holyrood election falling one short of an overall majority.

Ms Chapman, who is one of a record intake of eight Green MSPs, said: "The deal is really exciting and daunting at the same time.

"It's quite a step for the Scottish Greens although there are significant risks attached to it. The Greens do bear a disproportionate part of the risks involved in the agreement.

"It is a landmark for the party and offers many exciting opportunities. I hope we can remain true to our principles of trust, co-operation and transparency."

"The deal is a really interesting sociological experiment as we have two parties from very different political cultures. It won't be plain sailing but we want to work hard to make it happen while working out how to stay true to our own party political values.

"This is definitely a coming of age for Green politics; the Greens have been at Holyrood since the beginning in 1999 and 22 years later here we are as part of the government."

The Scottish Parliament has witnessed the Greens make history by entering government for the first time in any UK national or devolved legislature.
The Scottish Parliament has witnessed the Greens make history by entering government for the first time in any UK national or devolved legislature.

Ms Chapman went on to outline the special role the Greens have to play in the Scottish Parliament and the benefits it could bring for the whole country.

"The Greens always have been the conscience of the Scottish Parliament, asking the awkward questions, and this is quite a powerful thing to bring into government," she continued.

"We'll demand that we can do better as a parliament for the people of Scotland. We have a different way of working now which the Greens have been hugely influential in bringing about. Breaking down barriers is a priority and I think we're fortunate to have a parliament which is more accessible than Westminster, more participatory and more collaborative.

"This approach will benefit both the government and Scotland as a whole."

The North East MSP was very clear as to where her party's priorities should lie in government.

Ms Chapman said: "One of the most important things is to have a response to the climate emergency and make sure this is put in place in time to be able to tackle it.

"Public investment needs to be directed towards communities rather than big business so we can deliver social transformation.

"We need to get this running now. The Scottish Greens not only have the ideas and vision for a post-fossil fuel economy but have done the work on the plans on how to do it.

"We need to transform the rented housing sector so we have stable and secure housing for people.

"The north-east has the potential to become a powerhouse of a green future and we need to start seeing communities in a more holistic way. I hope the the co-operation agreement sees this reflected in government."

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