SNP warned their Scottish Government could COLLAPSE if they choose ‘Wee Free’ Kate Forbes – a member of an evangelical church which opposes gay marriage and abortion – as new leader to replace Nicola Sturgeon
- SNP warned their Scottish Government could collapse if they elect Kate Forbes
- She is a member of the Free Church of Scotland, which opposes gay marriage
The SNP are being warned their Scottish Government could collapse if they choose current Holyrood finance secretary Kate Forbes as Nicola Sturgeon’s replacement.
Two leading SNP MSPs – Humza Yousaf and Ash Regan – have so far announced they will stand to replace Ms Sturgeon as party leader.
Ms Forbes is also being heavily tipped as a possible successor to the departing First Minister.
But there are claims the Scottish Greens could pull out of their current power-sharing agreement at Holyrood if Ms Forbes takes over.
The 32-year-old is a member of the Free Church of Scotland, sometimes known as the ‘Wee Frees’, which is opposed to gay marriage and believes there are few circumstances in which abortion is justified.
There are claims the Scottish Greens could pull out of their current power-sharing agreement at Holyrood if Kate Forbes takes over as SNP leader
Nicola Sturgeon struck the Bute House Agreement with the Scottish Greens following the 2021 Holyrood elections
If the Scottish Greens were to pull out of the deal, it would leave the SNP likely having to decide between continuing to govern as a minority administration or calling new elections
Ms Forbes has previously said she has been ‘guilty’ of ‘tiptoeing around’ her Christian faith in interviews.
It has also been suggested that Ms Sturgeon’s government rushed through its controversial gender identity reforms before Christmas, while Ms Forbes remained on maternity leave, in order to prevent a potential revolt from her.
According to the Herald on Sunday, Ms Forbes’ personal beliefs could put at risk the Bute House Agreement struck between the SNP and Scottish Greens in 2021.
‘The risk is that a new SNP leader, a new First Minister comes in and has a different sense of direction to Nicola Sturgeon, maybe is slightly less keen on the socially progressive policies that Sturgeon was very much a supporter of – someone who doesn’t sit favourably with Greens,’ a Scottish Greens source told the newspaper.
The source added that, even if Ms Forbes took a pragmatic approach to the Scottish Government’s gender identity legislation or plans for buffer zones outside abortion clinics, it could still put at risk their relationship with the SNP.
After Ms Sturgeon fell one seat short of winning an outright majority in the Scottish Parliament at the 2021 elections, she struck a power-sharing agreement with the Scottish Greens, who have seven MSPs.
The agreement was designed to last the whole five years of the current Scottish Parliament, but – if the Scottish Greens were to pull out – it would leave the SNP likely having to decide between continuing to govern as a minority administration or calling new elections.
James Mitchell, professor of public policy at Edinburgh University, said it ‘was not inconceivable’ the Bute House Agreement could collapse following the election of a new SNP leader.
He said: ‘It is likely that any successor is unlikely to be as positive as Sturgeon about relations with the Greens in general.
‘It is not inconceivable that relations with the Greens will deteriorate and the agreement collapse.’
Candidates to succeed Ms Sturgeon have until Friday to receive more than the threshold of 100 nominations from at least 20 local SNP branches.
If more than one candidate passes that mark, an election will be triggered, culminating on March 27.
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