Kate Forbes has called for the SNP to walk away from the Bute House Agreement with the Scottish Greens.

The former leadership hopeful told the New Statesman that the alliance had damaged her party.

She told the magazine: “The momentum of the SNP has stalled in the last year, even if support for independence has remained strong.

“We have lost the perception of being a broad movement moving together towards something bigger – independence.

"People have left the party. We keep having to ditch or rework major policies, for good reason but not without political or financial cost.”

READ MORE: SNP MSPs call for review of Bute House Agreement with Scottish Greens

The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch said the cooperation agreement established after the last Holyrood election “should be repealed and the SNP should operate again as a one-party minority government.”

“We were elected on a SNP manifesto not a Green Party manifesto or the Bute House Agreement,” Ms Forbes said.

“Nearly all the issues that have lost us support in the last year are found in the Bute House Agreement and not in the SNP manifesto.

“I see it particularly acutely with the economy and in rural Scotland, as the Greens appear to want to overregulate rural communities out of existence and hike taxes to a rate that will ultimately reduce public revenue.

“That is despite the cost-of-living crisis hitting our economy and the rural sector particularly hard.

“The SNP have consistently won elections because the Scottish people felt we were on their side.

“During any crisis – from the 2008 crash to the present cost of living – the SNP prioritised efforts to fire up the economy and support households, right across Scotland.

“The SNP wins votes from the north to the south of Scotland when the people trust us to focus more on their needs than on empty ideology.

“Consensus politics is absolutely right – but it still needs to be representative.

“The Greens have a handful of politicians, all of whom rightly stay true to their own ideological convictions, and their influence should be proportional to the public’s support for their policies.

"And, unfortunately, right now, a lot of Green policies do not chime with the public’s priorities during a cost of living crisis.”

Ms Forbes had previously called for a discussion around the agreement but has now joined fellow Highland MSP Fergus Ewing in calling for it to be scrapped altogether.

READ MORE: Fergus Ewing demands end of SNP Greens deal after heat pumps delay

During the leadership contest, Ms Forbes never said she would quit the partnership deal with the Greens, but suggested the junior partners might find some of her economic policies unpalatable. 

The Herald:

The 5,000-word interview in the New Statesman took place over seven weeks and touches on Ms Forbes’s thoughts on the leadership contest and the reaction to her religion and comments on gay marriage.

The ex-finance secretary told an interviewer she would not have voted for equal marriage if she had been an MSP at the time.

“If I had answered dishonestly,” she said, “it would have haunted me throughout not just the leadership contest, but it would have haunted me throughout my tenure.

“You would never have been able to move beyond it, had you not been honest… There’s something quite liberating about being truthful when going for the job, because you know if you win it, you’ve won it on the basis of people fully knowing who you are.”

She added: “I hate cowardice in myself more than anything else.”

Ms Forbes told the magazine that the SNP needed to “rebuild momentum.”

“There’s a perception among members and voters, rightly or wrongly, that the SNP isn’t the same party as the one that was first elected in 2007, and then with a massive vote in 2011, with a strategy for an independence referendum.

“And yet, we absolutely can once again gain the trust of voters and a reputation for competent government.

"The SNP governments of 2007, 2011 and 2016 knew how to get things done. They believed in fundamental reforms that delivered better outcomes for the public.

"They were clever at building consensus across parties. They were willing to be creative. They managed to speak for the fisherman in Buchan as well as the working mum in Glasgow.

"We need to get back to that approach. It’s in our DNA.”

Scottish Conservative Chairman Craig Hoy commended the ex-minister's attack on the Greens but said she needed to act.

“Kate Forbes is clearly all too happy to shout from the sidelines, but she needs to start backing up her rhetoric.

"She failed to step up and support our motion of no confidence in Lorna Slater, who should have been sacked for her shambolic deposit return scheme.

“Until she stops toeing the party line in crucial Parliamentary votes, these are empty words.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Greens told the Press Association: “Kate Forbes lost the leadership contest for her party which, some months later, continues to be a considerable source of relief for all those who, like the majority of SNP members and ourselves, believe in a progressive, inclusive form of politics working on behalf of everyone in Scotland.”

An SNP spokesperson said: "Only a matter of months ago, SNP members voted to elect Humza Yousaf as SNP leader and First Minister after he stood on a platform endorsing the Scottish Government's cooperation agreement which 95% of party members voted to support.

“The Bute House Agreement has already delivered vital steps to tackle climate change, a better deal for tenants, and action to reduce poverty and inequality – such as an increase to the Scottish Child Payment and free bus travel for under-22s.

"And the SNP is fully focused on taking action to support households through the cost of living crisis by, for example, freezing council tax.”