PATRICK Harvie, the co-leader of the Scottish Greens, has said the Bute House Agreement will “clearly” come to an end if the new leader of the SNP wishes to renege on any part of the deal.

But what is the Bute House Agreement – and what will it mean for Scotland if it comes to an end?

What is the Bute House Agreement?

In August 2021, members of both the SNP and the Scottish Greens voted overwhelmingly to accept the terms of a cooperation agreement which saw the Greens backing the SNP-led Scottish Government on the bulk of its policies.

These agreed upon areas included a second referendum on Scottish independence before 2026, reforming the process of gender recognition, enhancing tenants' rights, and increasing investment in public transport.

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It saw both Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater enter Government as junior ministers – the first time politicians from the Greens gained ministerial portfolios anywhere in the UK.

At the time, Nicola Sturgeon described it as “groundbreaking” and said it was about “doing politics and governance better”.

However, the Greens reserved the right to criticise the Government on certain issues such as aviation policy, GDP growth and membership of NATO.

What has it achieved?

As well as the doubling of the Scottish Child Payment, the agreement has also led to free bus travel for under-22s and the passing of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill - which was subsequently blocked from becoming law by the UK Government.

The upcoming Deposit Return Scheme and the potential rollout of Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) are also policy areas being supported by the Scottish Greens as part of the Bute House Agreement.

What happens if it ends?

The agreement contains a mechanism to review its terms, which Harvie has said would allow his party to re-evaluate its contents and potentially make changes depending on who becomes the next leader of the SNP.

If the agreement is officially ended it would mean the SNP becoming a minority government, having to rely upon support from other parties on an individual basis to pass legislation.

While both Forbes and Regan have said they are not afraid of the prospect of being in a minority government, Yousaf appeared to express apprehension at the possibility during one of his last campaign events in Dundee on Saturday.

He said: “I would say to anybody who ends up being the next leader of the SNP, you have to find a way of cooperating with the Greens.

“If you don’t, you end up not just a minority government, but I have to say, one of the most toxic parliaments I’ve ever been in, in terms of, I’m afraid, the opposition who will not look to cooperate with the SNP very often.”