Greens make gains, creating pro-independence majority
The Scottish Greens have returned a record number of MSPs in the Holyrood election, creating a pro-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament.
The Greens again failed to win a constituency, but took eight seats on regional lists, including gains in the North East and Central Scotland regions.
Now, the focus on the Greens shifts to whether they will again occupy the role of helping the SNP pass budgets and other legislation on a case-by-case basis – while extracting concessions from the ruling party – or if there will be a formal coalition between the two.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said another independence referendum would be “irresponsible and reckless”, but a coalition between Holyrood’s two independence supporting parties, which would include 72 seats, would be harder to reject.
Before polling day, both the SNP and Scottish Greens refused to rule out a coalition, and Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said on Saturday it would be for the SNP to make the first approach.
As of Saturday afternoon, there were “no plans” for talks between the two sides, according to a Greens source.
Meanwhile, co-leader Lorna Slater was elected to Holyrood on the Lothian list, occupying the seat formerly held by Andy Wightman – who left the party in January.
There is also space in the parliamentary group for former co-leader Maggie Chapman, who won in the North East region.
Ms Chapman’s election could be seen as one of the most surprising results of the election, due to the North East region’s reliance on the oil and gas sector as a source of employment and economic stimulus.
The Greens have previously said they want a just transition away from oil and gas, with re-training for staff in the sector, along with an end to new exploration licences in the North Sea.