Douglas Ross has offered to work with SNP rebels to block Green policies and bring down the joint government deal between the Nationalists parties.

The Scottish Tory leader said he was throwing down the gauntlet to the increasingly vocal group of SNP MSPs who were unhappy with the Bute House Agreement.

“I say directly to these would-be rebels that it is time to put up or shut up,” he said, adding Tory MSPs would help them “kick the Greens and their extreme policies out of government”.

Signed by Nicola Sturgeon two years ago, the BHA led to Scottish Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater becoming Scottish Government ministers.

READ MORE: Homelessness soars as 10,000 children in temporary accommodation

The coalition has been blamed by some in the SNP, including former cabinet secretary Fergus Ewing, for a recent decline in the party’s polling numbers.

Kate Forbes, who narrowly lost the SNP leadership to Humza Yousaf in March, has also called for the BHA to be "renegotiated" in the wake of failed Green policies such as the deposit return scheme and highly protected marine areas.

Launching a Conservative blueprint for economic growth, Mr Ross said it was not true that Mr Yousaf was a “prisoner” of the BHA, as some claimed, but passionately for it.

He said: “I am the last person to defend the Greens, but SNP incompetence didn't start with the Bute House Agreement. 

“The failure to deliver vital ferries or dual the A9,the lack of progress on closing the attainment gap  

“And the fact that cancer waiting standards have never been met for more than a decade, 

“They and many other failures all pre-date the Greens being in government.”

Noting Mr Yousaf had described the deal as “worth its weight in gold”, he went on: “Rather than being a prisoner of the Bute House Agreement, the incumbent of Bute House is its most passionate supporter.

"Humza Yousaf agreed with taking the Gender Reform Bill to the courts. He supported a fishing ban in a tenth of Scotland’s waters. 

“And he continues to oppose new North Sea oil and gas projects – despite the sector supporting tens of thousands of Scottish jobs. 

“The idea that Humza Yousaf and the SNP leadership are going to willingly pull the plug on their nationalist coalition partners is for the birds. 

“They are in lockstep on pretty much every policy issue.” 

He then dared the SNP’s internal critics to match their tough words with deeds.

READ MORE: 'Not launching SNP probe would have been grotesque neglect of duty'

He said: “I say directly to these would-be rebels that it is time to put up or shut up. 

“If they want to challenge any part of the Green policy agenda, then they will have the support of Scottish Conservative MSPs. 

“And if they want to vote down the Bute House Agreement,then they can count on Scottish Conservative votes. 

“If they believe that having the Greens in government, is damaging the rural livelihoods and communities they represent,  

“If they believe that Scotland’s economy is more important than blind allegiance to the nationalist cause, then they will seize the opportunity, I am offering them. 

“To kick the Greens and their extreme policies out of government.”

He later said a key test would come next month, when the Tories used their debate time at Holyrood to force a vote on whether to delay the licensing of short-term lets.

He said: “I think it's a very fair offer to join us. 

“It's all very well commenting and saying we could do things differently.

“Let's see how they do..  on short term lets, which would have a huge impact on every single constituency across Scotland. They can’t ignore that.

"Their ministers currently are. Paul McLennan [housing minister], as I understand it, has been given plenty of opportunity and plenty of suggestions to make changes, but he had refused to do so.

“The cabinet secretary has now refused to do so. The First Minister’s refused to do so. 

“So let's see what these SNP rebels are made of. 

“Are they going to put party loyalty and the drive for independence above small businesses who are going to the wall as a result of their policies? 

“I hope they don’t and they will have an opportunity to prove that in a couple of days’ time.”

However he also said he was “not hopeful” the rebels would stand up and be counted.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Greens said: “The cooperation agreement that placed the Scottish Greens in government will far outlast the increasingly fragile looking leadership of Douglas Ross.

“Every time he gets near a microphone he is asked about his objectionable views on drag queens, reshuffling his MSPs and the Tories failed policies on the economy, Brexit and asylum seekers - nobody is interested in anything else he has to say.

“His questionable backing and subsequent flip-flopping of support for first Boris Johnson and then Liz Truss which ended in ignominy for both a year ago next month, already left huge question marks over his judgement.

“It is clear he has become a liability for the Scottish Tories, and it’s no surprise that he is desperately looking for support from wherever it may come as he cuts an increasingly isolated figure.

“He knows that it is the strength of the Scottish Government’s cooperation agreement that is making a positive difference to the lives of the people of Scotland against the shambles of a Tory government which - like his leadership - is on its last legs.”