The leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Nicola Sturgeon, has announced her intention to appoint Scottish Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater as government ministers, getting another step closer to a second independence referendum in Scotland.
The development, announced on Monday, marks the first time Green representatives have been appointed to a leading position in government anywhere in the UK.
The move follows on the heels of the power-sharing deal between the Scottish Government and Scottish Green party last month, in a bid to cement the pro-independence majority at Holyrood.
“I look forward to working with my new Green Party colleagues in this new and ambitious way” Sturgeon said, adding that this historic cooperation agreement is aimed at building “a greener, fairer, independent Scotland.”
“We have massive challenges to overcome: a global pandemic and its lasting effects, the climate emergency and the ‘assault by the UK Government’ on the powers of our Parliament," the SNP leader added.
Based on this appointment, Patrick Harvie will be Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights Minister while Lorna Slater will take on the role of Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity.
One of Harvie's responsibilities is to promote the shift from high carbon transportation and heating to more environmentally friendly alternatives, while ensuring fairness during the transition period. Slater’s responsibilities will include the Green Industrial Strategy and national parks management.
“Patrick and Lorna’s roles in Government are rightly at the heart of facing up to them, and the expertise and passion they bring with them will contribute greatly to defining Scotland’s path forward in doing so,” Sturgeon asserted.
Ministerial appointments must be formally approved by the Scottish Parliament and the Queen. The Scottish Conservatives are set to vote against the nominations, but are outnumbered by SNP and Scottish Green MSPs.
The cooperation agreement between the two parties created a mutually agreed political platform to be pursued by the Scottish government, with independence listed as the first point in the 51-page document.
The SNP fell just one seat short of an overall majority in May’s elections, but this time, the addition of seven Scottish Green seats will allow the Scottish government to comfortably pass legislation, including a new independence referendum bill, in the first half of the parliamentary term, which is before the end of 2023.