The Scottish Greens will keep working for a better future, with courage and determination.

Lorna Slater MSPs speech as John Swinney elected First Minister.

Congratulations to John Swinney on behalf of myself and the Scottish Green Group. We recognise the right of the SNP as the largest party in this chamber to form a Government, and we are content, in the spirit of stable governance, that they have managed to do so.

The Scottish Greens have worked constructively with John Swinney over many years, both as partners in government and from the opposition benches, and we look forward to building a similarly constructive relationship as he takes up the role of First Minister.

However, our explicit support for an SNP First Minister has always been conditional on a shared vision and policy programme, one which tackles the climate crisis head on, which builds a fairer, more equal future, and which continues to make the case for an independent Scotland.

The new First Minister has yet to lay out the vision for his new Government, hence our Group’s abstention in the vote today.

I am proud of what the Scottish Greens achieved during our time in Government. Lifting 100,000 children out of poverty, delivering free bus travel for young people, banning new incinerators, the most polluting single use plastics, and putting in place emergency rent controls during the cost of living crisis. These are things which are making people’s lives better already, thanks to the Scottish Greens.

But there was so much work still to be completed. We had just introduced a housing bill, which creates new rights for tenants and a permanent system of rent controls.

Our Heat in Buildings programme was transforming the way we heat our homes, to drive down emissions and give everyone a warm home they can afford to heat. This has been billed as a template for the rest of the UK by the Climate Change Committee.

The process to appoint Scotland’s new National Park was well underway, driving investment into Scotland’s rural communities. The proposed Natural Environment bill would have created new protections and legislative tools to help restore nature in Scotland.

Bringing in a watertight ban on conversion therapy, to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

These remain our priorities as Scottish Greens, and we will continue to advocate for the fairer, greener, more equal Scotland that they create.

In the coming days and weeks, the First Minister must lay out whether his government will continue with these progressive policies, as well as the recent commitment to ramp up action on the climate emergency, or whether he will retreat to the middle ground, and rely on the Tories and other pro-union parties to complete the work of Government.

If our parties can continue to work towards a shared vision of a fairer, progressive, independent Scotland which takes its responsibilities to future generations seriously, our door remains open.

The Scottish Greens will keep working for a better future, with courage and determination. I hope the new Scottish Government will as well.