A PROPOSED Scottish Greens meeting to determine whether the party would remain in government after the SNP election has been “shut down” by party HQ, The National can reveal.

A meeting of the party’s executive team – which comprises around 60 members including MSPs – voted to reject plans to consult the full membership on the future of the Bute House Agreement.

Instead, a meeting of the smaller group will take place shortly after the winner of the SNP race is announced. They will decide whether to back the candidate to become the next first minister – effectively a vote on whether the Greens remain in government.

A party source said this was against the Greens’ internal rules – which require any decision to enter or leave government to be approved by members.

The National:

The executive group will also vote on whether to hold an “extraordinary general meeting” (EGM) at least four weeks after the outcome to consult members on remaining in government.

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Party sources told The National the decisions on supporting the new SNP leader and maintaining the co-operation agreement are not separate because the election of the first minister is effectively a “confidence vote”.

The Scottish Greens have insisted that its internal rules would not have allowed a meeting of the whole party to go ahead on March 27, and a party official was recorded in minutes as telling the executive team it would not be “possible in terms of logistics” for a full meeting to go ahead that day.

One member – who did not wish to be named – said: “It’s clear that those at the top table are trying to keep things as tightly controlled as they can.

“Any decision on whether Green MSPs – and for that matter, Green ministers – should remain in government should not just be made by a handful of party members. Any move to withdraw support for an SNP first minister firmly falls into that.

“Instead, the decision is being controlled by party leadership – including those who have staked their political reputation on this coalition.”

Members feel parliamentary representatives should take their lead from the whole party on the Bute House Agreement, another Greens source told us, claiming the party’s MSPs saw the deal as their domain.

The source said there was “disquiet” among party activists about HQ’s decision to reject the proposed April meeting.

The National:

They said: “They’re very reluctant to allow any other groups outwith the parliamentary group and team to have anything to do with this and they seem to think that because they’re in parliament, the Bute House Agreement is their purview and nobody else should intervene.

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“But they miss the point that it is the membership that have the say on that agreement.

“They’re walking a difficult line here. There’s potential for damage. The problem is the tension between the parliamentary group and the MSPs and those outwith.”

But another insider – who claimed the Greens-SNP deal would collapse if Kate Forbes or Ash Regan won – said that the plans for the early April meeting were “pointless” and suggested, should Yousaf win, they should have a meeting to canvas party members’ opinions about the deal.

They said: “If there’s that strong a feeling among the members, we should have an EGM this early, that’s their right to do so and I would support that – but I also think we need to bide our time and be tactical here as well and not press all of the big red buttons too soon.

“There needs to be a bit of balance.”

Under the party’s current plans, the source said, the Greens “could take a decision and then go back on it in a couple of days”.

They added: “If it’s Humza, let’s give him a chance, let’s give him six months and at the autumn conference – are we happy, are we not happy?”

Scottish Green Party council co-convener Laura Moodie said: “Our party council is made up of delegates from all branches and representative groups and is the strategic decision-making body of the party between general meetings. Out of a total potential membership of around 40, the MSP group has one vote at council.

“At our meeting on March 4 delegates debated and voted on whether to call an EGM following the selection of a new First Minister, but a clear majority was not in favour.”

She added that the meeting had been “democratic and respectful” and said: “This issue will be discussed again at a special council meeting on March 27. Any EGM requires four weeks' notice to be issued to all Scottish Green Party members.”