THE co-leader of the Scottish Greens has said the effect on the LibDems of forming a coalition government with the Conservatives is on the minds of senior party MSPs as they engage in co-operation talks with the Scottish Government – but she does not see that as a problem.

Lorna Slater, along with fellow co-leader Patrick Harvie, has been engaging in talks with the Scottish Government in recent weeks, with the decision made to formalise the discussions this week.

In the aftermath of the election a SNP/Scottish Greens coalition government was ruled out, but on Wednesday the First Minister revealed that discussions have been taking place which could see Greens MSPs become ministers.

Nicola Sturgeon said the end goal is a formal co-operation agreement between the two.

However, following the LibDem decision in 2010 to go into coalition with the Tories at Westminster the party was destroyed at the ballot box – dropping 49 seats and 15% of the vote in 2015.

“I think that’s on everybody’s mind, absolutely,” Slater told the PA news agency.

“I think both the Scottish Government and ourselves are taking a risk, as the First Minister said yesterday, to put this out there, to publicly announce that we’re interested in trying to find effective ways of tackling the climate crisis, effective ways of dealing with recovery by working more closely together.”

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She added: “The kind of arrangement that we’re probably looking at doesn’t look like what we would consider a coalition.

“That’s probably not the kind of arrangement we would look at, it’s probably something that’s a bit of a distance from that, a different kind of arrangement.”

The Greens co-leader also said it was the First Minister who made the first approach, contacting both Slater and Harvie to invite them to talk about a potential alliance.

While there is little known about the detail of a final agreement, Slater said it could mean the creation of long-term financial planning, meaning the Scottish Government could rely on the support of the Scottish Greens in such a way as to make longer-term financial commitments in the annual budgets.

Sturgeon said an agreement is not necessary because of parliamentary arithmetic (with the SNP having 64 MSPs and the opposition 64), but have said it is an attempt at cross-party working.

The decision to speak to the Greens could be seen as one made to increase leverage over Boris Johnson in getting his agreement to hold a second independence referendum.

But the new Lothian MSP said she would take the Scottish Government entreaties at face value.

“I don’t think I can second guess the motivation of the Scottish Government,” she said. Certainly the way they’ve presented to us in the approach they’ve made has been around wanting to change their approach on climate, wanting to be seen to take that seriously, to take action on it ... bring in the experts – bring in the people who have practical policies.

“I’m optimistic that means the Scottish Government are genuine in their interest to take a more serious and more integrated look – more joined-up thinking – on the climate crisis and how that depends on having a wellbeing economy.

“I’m taking it hopefully in the spirit which I think it was intended, with good intentions to really, genuinely make some transformative change.”

During the election campaign Harvie revealed in an interview with The National that he was open to a coalition with the SNP. SNP sources later said the party was interested in closer working with the Greens even if the larger party achieved a majority. In the event the SNP came one seat short of an overall majority.