A COALITION deal between the Greens and the SNP could be in jeopardy after an MSP tried to influence the talks before they had even begun.

Ross Greer, MSP for West Scotland, has been attempting to direct Green party members to support key priorities such as transport and housing in a bid to get an agreement with the nationalists.

This is despite promises by Green leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater that the talks would be led by members’ priorities and opinions.

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Green members were sent a survey on Monday asking them for their views on what the priorities should be, however a leaked message obtained by The Herald, and sent by the MSP soon after it was issued show him urging people to select certain subjects as their top priority.

Mr Greer suggested that if members chose specific subjects, there would be a better chance of getting a “very good deal agreed” with the SNP. He claims the remarks were a "personal opinion" and denies lobbying.

The move has angered some within the party, who said it appears that discussions have been decided already without wider members’ input and the leaders’ canvassing for opinions was “paying lip service to internal democracy”.

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It could potentially derail the talks before they have started, as any deal has to be approved by Green party members for it to be accepted.

The survey, sent by Greens co-leaders on Monday, read: “The Scottish Greens have agreed to enter into formal talks with the SNP Government about a form of political cooperation agreement for this Parliamentary session.

“A Political Cooperation Working Group has been formed to lead these negotiations. The working group is keen to ensure the views of all members are reflected in the negotiations.”

It continued: “We don’t yet know where these discussions will take us and it will ultimately be for the party to vote on any draft agreement.

"We are however convinced that this is worth exploring, to see whether we can reach common ground and put more of our manifesto into practice.”

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Mr Harvie and Ms Slater told members the negotiations would be “confidential” and “shaped by the Scottish government’s priorities” adding: “The more responses we get, the more certain we can be of reflecting the wider party’s priorities when negotiating.”

Members were asked to rate issues based on how high a priority they believe they should have in the discussions, from 1-10.

HeraldScotland: Ross Greer posed the question at FMQs. Photograph: Jamie Simpson

The issues people are asked to rank are a green economic recovery, protecting Scotland’s animals, independence and Scotland’s future, external affairs, health, restoring Scotland’s environment, food and farming, seas and coasts, land reform, local democracy and communities, social security, education, equalities, far taxes, energy and a just transition, transport and housing.

Despite promises that the negotiations would be based on the views of the party’s membership, Mr Greer contacted Green members soon after the survey was sent out on Monday, it is understood.

One Whatsapp message leaked to The Herald, sent by the MSP , said: “Members survey on cooperation now in your inboxes or on its way.

“It would be super useful if you could rank transport, housing, environment and energy as 10/10 as those are the areas where we could actually get a very good deal agreed.”

Some members are enraged by Mr Greer’s attempts, which they say started “within hours” of the survey being sent out and were "completely unsolicited".

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Mr Greer claims the message was in a "private chat" with "close personal friends" and was not an effort to lobby members however sources say he had not been asked for his opinion prior to sending the message.

One Green member told The Herald: “Our party prides itself on internal democracy and being led by members, but this kind of lobbying is not in line with that tradition.

“While members are being consulted on any potential deal with the SNP, myself and others have serious concerns that the scope of any agreement has already been ironed out and this survey serves to do nothing but pay lip service to internal democracy.”

When asked about Mr Greer's apparent lobbying efforts, The Herald was told that no complaints had been made internally, and there had been no breach of confidentiality in disclosing what he thought would help to create a good deal with the SNP.

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A spokesman said the internal survey is intended to obtain an honest reflection of members views, and there was "absolutely no policy" to direct members to select certain priorities over another, but added that debate between members was "inevitable".

He said: “The Scottish Greens have asked members to highlight their priorities from our manifesto as we head into formal negotiations with the SNP. Of course this will lead to internal discussion between members at every level, which we welcome.