Humza Yousaf's spin doctor, stalwart SNP adviser and Green power-sharing agreement sceptic Kevin Pringle has left the Scottish Government and will not be returning after being 'snubbed' in an initial special adviser recruitment, it has emerged.

Kevin Pringle became the Scottish Government head of communications and strategic political adviser last year having served a similar role from 2007 to 2012 under Mr Salmond.

Mr Pringle was the head of communications, strategic political adviser and the senior political spokesperson for Mr Yousaf when he was First Minister and was seen as a sceptic of the power-sharing Bute House Agreement with the Scottish Greens.

Mr Yousaf's leadership came to an end after he scrapped the agreement which left the SNP with a minority in parliament.

Facing motions of no confidence in him and his government, Mr Yousaf confirmed he was standing down saying he had "paid the price" for the way the Greens deal had ended.

Mr Pringle, who had run the SNP's communications team ahead of the independence referendum of 2014, was not among the seven who were immediately reappointed since John Swinney became the new First Minister on April 29. There were 16 special advisers before Humza Yousaf stood down as First Minister.

Sources say that Mr Pringle's future position had been 'up in the air'.

Messages to contacts last week stated that he had "left the Scottish Government".

Now he has said: "Working in government is a privilege, and one I greatly enjoyed, during both the last year and the years after the SNP was first elected in 2007.

The Herald: Kevin Pringle

"I wish the Scottish Government, and indeed MSPs of all parties, well in making the most of the new opportunities that lie ahead. Regarding my own professional future, I want to take a little time to explore options for fulfilling challenges outside the world of government and politics."

Before the weekend, Mr Pringle had indicated he had not quit, after he was not one of those who were reappointed right away by John Swinney.

Although other special advisers were expected to be appointed, one insider said that he felt the failure to be re-appointed right away, alongside Chief of Staff Colin McAllister and five others, was seen as a 'snub'.

The Herald: Bute House, Edinburgh

Mr Pringle is known to have been sceptical of the SNP-Green deal that was struck by the former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in advance of the end of the Bute House agreement with the Greens.

He said in April last year that he felt the SNP has been "overvaluing having an inbuilt majority at Holyrood in this parliament – courtesy of the seven Green members – because of feeling an acute sense of insecurity as a minority administration in the last parliament".

He added: “Looked at from a longer perspective, minority government has worked well for the SNP – and for Scotland.

“During the two parliaments when the SNP formed minority administrations – 2007-11 and 2016-21 – the party advanced at the subsequent election.

“Indeed, when Mr Salmond led an extremely minority government (with only 47 MSPs out of 129) the SNP did so well that it went on to win an overall majority within a proportional representation voting system.”

He went on to say that “on balance” he remained supportive of the deal but added he did not think “it should be regarded as an absolute”, adding: “The Bute House Agreement wasn’t carved on tablets of stone.”

He also explained that he believed that the experience of being in government “would change the Greens […] for the better”.

He added: “Politicians who have served in government will form a better opposition, which in turn should make for a better government.

“Today it’s the SNP and Greens in power. It will change again in future.

Those that were immediately re-appointed as special advisers were Mr McAllister, Ross Ingebrigsten who had been deputy political spokesperson for the First Minister, Davie Hutchison who had the finance, culture and Covid portfolio; Jeannette Campbell (justice and home affairs), Sean McGivern (education and skills), Ewan Crawford (constitution and external affairs) and Emily Mackintosh (business and economy oversight).

In September 2021, the Scottish Government and the Greens entered into a cooperation agreement. The agreement was the first of its type since devolution in Scotland.

The Herald: Humza Yousaf

The agreement set out how the Scottish Government and the Greens intended to work together over five years – the duration of the session six Parliament.

But it is believed that two key areas of policy appeared to increase the friction between the Scottish Government and the Greens – gender services and climate change.

Following a review of gender services for under 18s in England, NHS Scotland announced that it would pause prescribing puberty blockers to under 18s referred to it by specialist gender clinics. Following that announcement, the Rainbow Greens, the LGBT wing of the Green party, launched a petition on the future of the Bute House agreement.

On April 18, 2024, the Scottish Government announced that it was to scrap its 2030 climate change target and move to a system of five-year carbon budgeting, with targets still in place to reach net zero by 2045.

Following the two announcements, the Greens planned to ask its members in an extraordinary general meeting whether the party should continue in its power sharing agreement with the Scottish Government.

Co-leader of the Greens, Patrick Harvie MSP, stated at the time that he would resign as co-leader if members backed an end to the Bute House agreement, believing that doing so would be a “mistake”.

But Humza Yousaf moved to end the power-sharing deal which was supposed to provide stability to the Scottish Government.

Former SNP MP Callum McCaig - who was hired a special adviser by Nicola Sturgeon has also announced that he will be standing down The Scottish Government confirmed that Kate Higgins had also rejoined the team. She has been a special adviser since 2015.