BIG’s Public Affairs team takes a look at what this morning’s announcement on the collapse of the Bute House Agreement means for the future of the Scottish Government.

Background of the Bute House Agreement 

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has dissolved the power-sharing agreement with the Scottish Greens, known as the Bute House Agreement. The partnership, formed after the last Holyrood elections in 2021, has been a cornerstone of the Scottish Government and guaranteed the SNP and pro-independence Greens had the numbers to get their legislative agenda through the Scottish Parliament. The agreement has been under fire from some parts of the SNP for some time and has come under growing strain since the announcement members of the Scottish Greens would vote on continuing in the coalition next month.       

Why did the SNP end the agreement? 

Despite tensions growing over policy differences, such as the decision to row back on climate change targets and pause puberty blockers for transgender youth, the announcement does come as a surprise. Senior figures in the Scottish Government had continued to offer a robust defence of the agreement, with the First Minister maintaining his support for the coalition as recently as Tuesday.  It appears that the decision was pre-emptive, aiming to anticipate and counteract a potential vote against continuing the coalition by the Scottish Green members, who were scheduled to vote on this matter next month. By dissolving the coalition proactively, the First Minister and SNP leadership may have sought to control the narrative, positioning themselves as the decision-makers rather than being seen as reacting to a breakup initiated by the Greens. 

Political and Public Reactions 

The immediate public and media reaction has not been favourable towards the First Minister, with many viewing this move as a sign of weak and reactive leadership rather than a demonstration of assertiveness and foresight. This perspective could potentially harm the SNP’s image as they navigate the complex political landscape leading up to a UK election, where their influence at Westminster is limited. 

Challenges ahead for the SNP 

The SNP now faces the challenge of operating as a minority government in Holyrood, which complicates their ability to pass legislation and manage the government effectively. Every parliamentary vote will require careful negotiation and coalition building with rival parties, potentially with parties they have not traditionally aligned with. 

Opportunities and Strategic Shifts 

On the other hand, this break might allow the SNP to realign its policies without the need to compromise with the Greens, potentially moving towards the political centre or even right on certain issues to gain broader support. How this will affect the SNP’s core policies and electoral prospects remains to be seen. 

What next for the Scottish Greens? 

The Scottish Greens, now in opposition, might adopt a more distinct and possibly confrontational stance on various issues, emphasising their independence and possibly regaining some support from their base by distancing themselves from the compromises inherent in coalition governance. 


The SNP’s decision to dissolve the Bute House Agreement marks a crossroads moment in Scottish politics, setting the stage for the reshaping of policy directions and political alliances. As the SNP seeks new partners to ensure it can govern effectively for the next two years, and the Greens redefine their role in Scottish politics, the coming months will be critical in determining the trajectory of both parties and their impact on Scotland’s future. 

For ongoing updates and detailed analysis, stay tuned to our Public Affairs team, and for further inquiries, please reach out to us at [email protected]

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