The SNP and the Scottish Greens are close to a co-operation agreement, a source has said.
The two parties have been locked in negotiations since May, after the SNP fell just one seat short of an overall majority at the Holyrood elections.
While both parties said there would not be a formal coalition between the two, an agreement would see them work together on key issues, and could even see some Green MSPs appointed as ministers in Nicola Sturgeon’s government.
First reported by the Daily Record, and corroborated by the PA news agency, a source familiar with the negotiations said there had been “good progress” made and a deal was “95%” done.
An announcement, the source claimed, could come as early as the end of this week.
It is unclear what the final deal may look like, but in May Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs: “As we embark on this process, we are setting no limits on our ambition.
“So in that vein let me be clear that while this is not a guaranteed or pre-agreed outcome, it is not inconceivable that a co-operation agreement could lead in future to a Green minister or ministers being part of this Government.
“The key point for today is that we are both agreeing to come out of our comfort zones to find new ways of working for the common good.”
Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Greens co-leader, said the people of Scotland were looking for “grown up politics”, adding: “Green parties across Europe and in countries like New Zealand have in recent years rolled up their sleeves and worked with other parties to deliver a better future.
“But they have also shown that there is more than one way for government and opposition parties to work together, without losing the ability to challenge one another.
“We believe the people of Scotland want to see grown-up politics like this, and will approach the forthcoming talks in this spirit.”
The key area of agreement between the two sides before the negotiations was the constitution with both the Greens and the SNP in favour of Scottish independence.
An agreement would help towards formalising the 72 pro-separation MSPs in Holyrood, seven more than the 65 needed for a majority.
Responding to the reports, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar referred to the Scottish Greens as a “branch office” of the SNP, saying: “This coalition isn’t a surprise, it is just formalising a long-standing reality where Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP hammer our public services with cuts, and the Greens nod along.”
He added: “Scotland needs a real alternative that is standing up for our national recovery, the NHS and decent jobs – not the same old constitutional arguments.
“Scottish Labour are building that alternative, and I’d invite everyone in Scotland to join us on that journey.”
Meanwhile, the Scottish Tories said the Greens would endanger 100,000 jobs in the oil and gas industry if they were to hold sway in the Scottish Government.
In their manifesto ahead of May’s election, the Greens pledged to “phase out” oil and gas in the North Sea, but also committed to a just transition – which would see workers in the industry retrained in other lines of work.
“The prospect of an SNP-Green coalition of chaos is terrifying for the 100,000 workers and their families in our oil and gas industry,” Tory net zero, energy and transport spokesman Liam Kerr said.
“The SNP Government are working hand-in-hand with a party that’s happy to see thousands of hardworking families lose their jobs to suit their priorities.
“They care more about their separatist, ideological grievances than Scotland’s jobs and our wider economy and recovery.
He added: “The Scottish Conservatives will continue to stand up for vital jobs and livelihoods while doing everything possible to prevent this destructive SNP-Green agenda.”
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