Scottish Green MSPs to oppose Deputy First Minister appointment

Ross Greer MSP's speech from debate on appointment on Scotland's new cabinet.

Scottish Green MSPs will today vote against the appointment of Kate Forbes as Deputy First Minister. The position was announced by Ross Greer MSP during the Appointment of Scottish Ministers and Junior Scottish Ministers.

Speaking in the Chamber, Mr Greer said:

“Presiding Officer, the Act which established this Parliament gives the First Minister the responsibility of nominating those he wishes to serve as Scottish Ministers. It gives Parliament the responsibility to decide on the suitability of those candidates.

“John Swinney knows the esteem that I hold him in. But today he is asking me and other Members of this Parliament who are LGBT to appoint to the second highest office in this country an individual who believes it was wrong that Parliament granted us the same legal right as everyone else ten years ago.

“I cannot - the Scottish Greens cannot - support the appointment of someone who fundamentally does not believe that everyone in Scotland is equal and worthy of equal rights and respect under the law.

“We cannot support the appointment of someone who believes not only that equal marriage is wrong, but also children being born outside of marriage. We will oppose the appointment of Kate Forbes for Deputy First Minister.”

Reflecting on his own Christian faith, Mr Greer continued:

“My belief in the Good News brought by Jesus Christ is something I share with Ms Forbes and Mr Swinney.

“Faith is not the issue here. The issue is that I am being asked to vote for someone who thinks there is something wrong with me, not because of any views I hold but simply because of who I am. I will not do that - the Scottish Greens will not do that.

“Yesterday Kate Forbes was given the opportunity to reassure LGBT people in a question asked by ITV News. She did not. The First Minister had to step in just to say the word LGBT.

“This month we celebrate 25 years of this Parliament. There is much to celebrate, especially in all the ways in which Scotland has become a more equal place as a result of devolution.

“But in the last few years - for the first time - it feels like we are going backwards. Scotland is in many ways a harder place to be LGBT today than it was five years ago.”

Mr Greer concluded:

“I know that John Swinney considers me and all LGBT members of this Parliament to be equal. I know that he shares in the joy felt by every LGBT person in Scotland who has used the marriage right this Parliament gave them - including Members of this Parliament.

“But today the First Minister is asking us to appoint as his Deputy someone who does not share in that joy, who does not think we are deserving of equality under the law, who thinks there is something wrong with us. I cannot - the Scottish Greens cannot - do that.”