A proposed power-sharing deal between the SNP and Scottish Greens has “progressed” and could be announced within the next two weeks.
Civil servants and Scottish Government lawyers are now understood to be poring over the fine details of the draft agreement to ensure it is workable and can be delivered.
Almost two months have passed since First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that talks would begin on the “potentially ground-breaking” cooperation agreement.
Sources said the discussions had “definitely progressed”, and that those involved were “still fairly optimistic” that a deal would be struck, although civil servants must first “dot the i’s and cross the t’s”.
It is expected that a conclusion could be reached early next month, and any proposed deal would then have to be rubber-stamped by the Cabinet, and both parties.
Some members of both the SNP and the Greens have expressed reservations about the prospect, with the two sides at odds on several key policy areas, including new road building and the speed of the transition away from North Sea oil and gas.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Positive discussions between the Scottish Government and the Scottish Greens on a potential co-operation agreement are ongoing and a further report will be provided to parliament after the recess.”
Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, co-leaders of the Greens, had been spearheading the negotiations for the party, with Deputy First Minister John Swinney involved for the SNP.
On June 24, Mr Swinney provided an update to Holyrood, when he answered a parliamentary question on the talks, which he said aimed to “change the dynamic of our politics for the better in line with the founding principles of our parliament”.
He said: “Since the first minister’s announcement last month, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Greens have been engaging in positive discussions about a potential co-operation agreement, and have identified the subjects to be explored as part of this.
“Talks are covering the major challenges of this parliament. This includes Scotland’s recovery from Covid, our response to the climate emergency, the constitution, public services, infrastructure, and building a fairer and more equal Scotland.
“Talks will continue over the summer and a further report will be provided to parliament after the recess.”