Ian Blackford mocked as he desperately tries to defend Nicola Sturgeon’s electoral pact

Sturgeon and Greens deal looks ‘tenuous’ says Foster

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An agreement between the two Holyrood parties, which will see two Scottish Green MSPs enter government and a move towards a shared policy platform, was announced on Friday. The SNP national executive committee approved the deal on Saturday, with a consultative poll of members set for next week, while Green members will vote next Saturday on the agreement.

If the deal is ratified, the two parties will work together on a shared agenda for the next five years.

But the agreement has already been met with stumbling blocks over road improvements across the country.

According to the Times, the Greens cast doubt over the dualling of the A96 between Aberdeen and Inverness due to the impact on climate change.

If the SNP move ahead with the plan for the A96, the party would break a manifesto pledge to improve the road in the north-east of Scotland where the Conservatives are winning seats.

The SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, has been left red-faced after insisting road upgrades will not be threatened by the coalition government.

Speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland, Mr Blackford said: “What is important is that we take account of safety and that will be the key.”

Patrick Harvie, the Greens co-leader said: “Scotland has not met its climate commitments in recent years and rising emissions from transport have been one of the main causes of this.

“Getting back on track means taking determined action to deliver a green, fair and affordable transport system for everyone.

“The draft co-operation agreement presents us with a golden opportunity to begin that process.”

After Mr Blackford insisted the coalition will not stop road upgrades, Tory MSP Rachael Hamilton lashed out at the Westminster leader.

She tweeted: “Mr B. didn’t get the memo from the boss.”

Another person said: “SNP deal with Scottish Greens won’t stop road upgrades, says Ian Blackford.

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“That’s not what the reptile Harvie says. Here we go. The first backtrack.

“It would be instant death in the NE if they reneged on the A96 upgrade.

“A9 must be completed too. F**k up.”

The Scottish Tories, who have branded the Greens “extremists”, claimed the agreement would cost the Scottish taxpayer £224,497.88 each year just in wages and pension contributions.

This would mean until the end of the next Holyrood term in 2026, the agreement would cost Scots more than £1million extra.

The agreement sets out that there will be two Green ministers and two special advisers appointed.

The Green Party will nominate two MSPs from the existing eight MSPs to be Ministers who will be paid £94,821 per year.

Two special advisers will be appointed at an average cost of £81,897.94 per year and will support the two new green ministers in their work.

An SNP spokesperson previously said about the coalition: “The co-operation agreement between the SNP and the Scottish Greens proposes exciting policies which will build a stronger, fairer, greener Scotland reflecting the priorities the country voted for in May.

“In stark contrast, the Tories prefer to waste taxpayers’ money on nuclear weapons and the unelected House of Lords, while imposing a hard Brexit on Scotland that will harm our economy for decades to come.”

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