DOUGLAS Ross has offered to back SNP rebels in a vote to bring down the Bute House Agreement urging the backbenchers to “join” the Scottish Tories and remove the Scottish Greens from Government.

Backbenchers Fergus Ewing and Kate Forbes are among those in the SNP who have called for members to be allowed a vote on the power sharing deal at the party’s conference in October.

However, First Minister Humza Yousaf has insisted that the deal, which introduced Greens co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater as junior ministers, will remain in place until the next Holyrood election in 2026.

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The agreement gives a pro-independence majority in the parliament with the addition of the seven Scottish Green MSPs to the SNP’s 64.

Speaking at an event in Edinburgh where he launched the Scottish Conservative's economic policy ahead of the Scottish Parliament reconvening next week, Ross dubbed the rebels “latter-day SNP critics”.

He said that under Nicola Sturgeon the rebels were “all too happy to collect a ministerial salary” and serve in government with the Scottish Greens “without any fuss”.

“And despite their tough words they don’t act,” he added.

The National: SNP MSP Fergus Ewing Image: PA

“Before the summer recess we even gave them a shot at the thing they supposedly want - a chance to vote out a Green minister, to remove Lorna Slater from government, but only one did so.”

Ewing (above), former cabinet secretary for rural economy, voted against Slater, and was reportedly facing losing the SNP whip for doing so.

Ross said that his message to the rebels was that it "is time to put up or shut up”.

“If they want to challenge any part of the Green policy agenda, then they will have the support of Scottish Conservative MSPs,” he added.

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“And if they want to vote down the Bute House Agreement, then they can count on Scottish Conservative votes.

“If they believe that having the Greens in government is damaging the rural livelihoods and communities they represent, if they believe that Scotland’s economy is more important than blind allegiance to the nationalist cause - then they will seize the opportunity I am offering them.

“To kick the Greens and their extreme policies out of government.”

The Scottish Tory leader (below) said he was “not hopeful” on either of his propositions but insisted that the SNP-Green coalition will continue to “govern in the interests of narrow minorities rather than for the whole country”.

The National:

“And his [Yousaf’s] SNP critics will continue to bark but show no real teeth,” he added.

As the Scottish Conservatives have 31 MSPs and there are understood to be around at least seven SNP rebels, it is unlikely that any vote would command a majority to end the Bute House agreement.

Ross added during a Q&A session after his speech that he believed he put forward a “very fair offer” to the rebels to join forces with the Tories.

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He said: “It’s all very well commenting and saying you would do things differently, let's see how they do on the very first question we’ve heard on short-term lets.”

Earlier, Ross said that his party would be bringing forward a debate and a full vote on the incoming short-term let licensing scheme before the October 1 deadline, after growing pressure from the sector to extend the deadline for a second time.

The FM (below) has repeatedly ruled out doing so in recent weeks and insisted that the industry has had plenty of time to apply to the scheme.

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An SNP spokesperson said: "Only a matter of months ago, SNP members voted to elect Humza Yousaf as SNP leader and First Minister after he stood on a platform endorsing the Scottish Government's cooperation agreement which 95% of party members voted to support.

“The Bute House Agreement has already delivered vital steps to tackle climate change, a better deal for tenants, and action to reduce poverty and inequality – such as an increase to the Scottish Child Payment and free bus travel for under-22s.”

The Scottish Greens hit back at Ross’s comments and said the Bute House deal will “far outlast” his “fragile-looking leadership”. 

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A spokesperson for the party said his “objectionable views on drag queens” and flip-flopping and support of former Tory prime ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss have left “huge question marks” over his judgment.

“So it is clear he has become a liability for the Scottish Tories, and it’s no surprise then that he is desperately looking for support from wherever it may come as he cuts an increasingly isolated figure,” they added. 

“He knows that it is the strength of the Scottish Government’s cooperation agreement that is making a positive difference to the lives of the people of Scotland against the shambles of a Tory government which - like his leadership - is on its last legs.”