Scotland’s rural affairs secretary refused to confirm what Green party policies could feature in a potential “coalition” government.
North East Conservative MSP Liam Kerr raised his concerns weeks after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed her party is considering a formal pact which could put Greens into the Scottish Government.
Mr Kerr claimed policies were poorly thought through and said jobs could be lost.
Rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon, the MSP for Angus North and Mearns, said: “Talks between the Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party will cover a number of issues and further updates on those talks will be made in due course.”
Asked to “rule out” any Green party manifesto commitment, Ms Gougeon said: “It’s extremely disappointing to hear the member reiterate these scare stories that go around.
“As I said, the talks are ongoing, but right now we’re committed to delivering what’s in our manifesto – our bold ambitions to introduce another land reform bill and doubling the amount we have available in the Scottish land fund. That’s our focus and that’s what we’ll deliver.”
In parliament, Mr Kerr said “many commentators” have suggested the Green’s land proposals are poorly thought through.
He added: “Adopting Green plans would put thousands of rural jobs at risk, including those in the minister’s Angus constituency and lead to a lack of investment in some of our most remote and fragile environments.”
The Scottish Green Party manifesto for the election on May 6 outlined “truly radical land reform”.
The party wants a land reform act to tackle monopolies and regulate sales, a review of taxes and subsidies and restrictions on overseas ownership of land.
Green manifesto pledges opening crofting to a “new generation of rural Scots” with greater incentives.
The party’s manifesto states: “Fragile rural communities can be revitalised by new inhabitants and fairer land practices, but owners of large estates have the power to control the supply of rural housing, while urban communities still have too little support to have a say in how the land around them is used and managed.”
Will there be a ‘coalition’?
Both parties had poured cold water on any speculation of a deal before the election.
But in a statement on May 26, Ms Sturgeon told MSPs at Holyrood: “It is not inconceivable that a cooperation agreement could lead in future to a Green minister or ministers being part of this government.
“The key point for today is that we are both agreeing to come out of our comfort zones to find new ways of working for the common good.”
No details of arrangements have yet been revealed, with both sides insisted it’s too early to say what form of deal might be struck.