Nicola Sturgeon plot: New alliance emerging to challenge Boris Johnson’s power

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Patrick Harvie of the Scottish Greens last night told Express.co.uk Westminster needed to be respectful of Scotland’s wishes and way forward. The Scottish Greens co-leader said relations between Holyrood and Westminster have “certainly deteriorated”.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “There were people in the previous Tory government with whom I would strongly disagree with, with whom the SNP would disagree, but who were willing to have a functional professional relationship between ministers and senior civil servants.

“That’s deteriorated and that’s no good for anybody, it’s no good for Scotland, the UK and it’s not good whether we become independent or not.”

Relations between the SNP led government at Holyrood and Boris Tory government have become strained in recent weeks over the UK internal market bill and an extension to the Brexit period.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford had written to Boris Johnson to request an extension to the Brexit process earlier this summer.

Ms Sturgeon believes more time is required to complete negotiations and support businesses through recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

However, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove confirmed there would be no extension beyond December 31.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Parliament voted to formally oppose Alok Sharma’s UK internal market bill.

The bill would see measures which were previously managed by the EU return to the UK at the end of the year when the Brexit transition period expires.

However, the SNP say the Bill is a “power grab” because it would give Westminster a final veto on Scottish laws.

Mr Harvie stressed there “needs to be a functional relationship between the Government’s at a professional level”.

He added: “That can be done but it requires a little bit of self-reflection on the part of the UK I think, a recognition that the UK is not a unitary state and can’t be treated that way.

“The truth is there never was one but they got away with treating it that way for a long time thinking all power was at Westminster and Whitehall so everyone else will just do what they are told.

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“That’s not the case anymore and I think they [Westminster} need to reflect that power is shared between the government of these islands and if they want Scotland to stay within the UK, they are going to have to begin to show a bit of respect.”

The SNP agreed and told Express.co.uk: “Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings, and their band of Euro-obsessed Tories, have little respect for Scottish democracy.”

A spokesperson added: “The threat of a Westminster power grab on the Scottish Parliament is growing by the day, and while the Tory top brass now accepts a referendum on Scotland’s future must happen, the party’s thinly-veiled attempts to shift the goalposts to avoid defeat show their disdain for our democracy.

“They will not be successful – the people of Scotland will make their voices heard.”

Mr Harvie argued “one small change that would start to move things in the right direction” would be the joint ministerial committees as he highlighted the fact Scottish officials turn up to meetings and cannot have a say or set the agenda.

Mr Harvie said: “If the UK Government wanted a better relationship, they would start to recognise that joint ministerial committees need to be set to everybody’s agenda and not just everyone else here what the UK government has decided.

 “If you just had that tiny change of a cooperative relationship instead of an authoritarian one, I think the Scottish Government would start to respond positively.”

When asked if the Greens would form a coalition or alliance with the SNP if they fail to get a majority and next year’s Holyrood election, the Greens co-leader, said: “We’ve never been closed to that.

 

“We believe in fair voting systems, proportional voting systems and the consequences of that is that you get a balanced parliament and coalition becomes a possibility.

“It’s important to recognise while people focus only on independence and see that the Greens and SNP agree about that, there’s actually a lot of deep economic stuff that we disagree with the SNP on whether that’s in relation to the oil and gas industry or taxation policy.

“I think we’ve demonstrated we can be really effective at holding the government to account and achieving change when there’s a minority government.

“I think it would be a mistake to rule a coalition out but it would also be a mistake to think that it is the only way to making a political impact.”

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