Wed 18 May, 2016

In this session of parliament Greens will provide vital progressive challenge so that ministers are persuaded to prioritise what really matters. Patrick Harvie MSP

Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, welcomed today's cabinet reshuffle by the First Minister, noting that Fergus Ewing had been moved away from the energy brief and that the government's emphasis on education policy had been signalled by the appointment of John Swinney.

Patrick said:

"In this session of parliament Scottish ministers will clearly need to reach out to other parties to make progress and the signals being sent by this cabinet reshuffle suggest that the First Minister understands that. It's reassuring that climate change has been elevated to a cabinet secretary responsibility. After four years of failed targets and the commitment in the SNP manifesto to increase those targets in line with the Paris Climate Summit, a bolder approach is required.

"It's pleasing to see Fergus Ewing, who has described fracking as an opportunity we must never close our minds to, moved away from the energy brief. His successor, Keith Brown, can expect further pressure from Greens and others to turn the temporary moratorium into a permanent ban to protect our communities.

"The appointment of John Swinney as education secretary shows that this will be a priority for the First Minister. Greens have been disappointed to see the Scottish Government go down the route of national testing following pressure from the Tories and Labour. In this session of parliament Greens will provide vital progressive challenge so that ministers are persuaded to prioritise what really matters: more teachers, action on teacher workload and restoration of additional support needs provision.

"The Green group of MSPs looks forward to working constructively with the new ministerial team in the months and years ahead, but we will not hold back where robust debate is needed."

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