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The war of words came as Kate Forbes insisted that beefing up the economic case for independence will build support for the Yes movement – as the candidates vying to lead the SNP clashed over their strategy to establish a new currency.

The row has emerged after the Greens are reportedly uncomfortable with working with Ms Regan or Ms Forbes, who do not back the gender recognition reforms. 

Ms Regan said whether a co-operation agreement should continue is “a conversation to have with our Green partners in a mature, grown-up way”.

She added: “There are obviously areas where we’re very closely aligned with the Greens on some things, but there are other areas where we are not so aligned.

“We’ve had a couple of years of that agreement now and I wonder if maybe this might be something that the SNP membership at large might like to have a discussion on, to see how it’s working for everyone.”

Read more: Nicola Sturgeon denies SNP civil war split after Mhairi Black warning

But Mr Yousaf insisted that it would be “madness for any SNP leader to even contemplate” ending the deal with the Greens.

He added: “Can you imagine that the first act of a new first minister of the SNP is to rip up a deal with our Green partners?

“You would have to rely on Douglas Ross or Anas Sarwar to pass our Budget.  

“It’s not for a new leader to come in and unpick a Bute House agreement that was agreed by 95 per cent of our membership.”

Asked about whether she would continue to run the government in co-operation with the Greens, Ms Forbes warned that “we need to see more growth” in the economy.

She added: “I would like to continue to work with the Greens.”

Ms Forbes told party members in Edinburgh that the “stakes couldn’t be higher” for Scotland to leave the Union.

Despite launching an attack on the Scottish Government’s record earlier this week, Ms Forbes told party members that in terms of devolution, the Scottish Government has “been making it work for the last 15 years”.

Read more: SNP leadership contest is ‘reset opportunity’ for Gender Reform law

She added: “I’m convinced we can persuade more people to support independence. It will take someone who can reach across the divide.”

Asked about what the SNP and wider Yes movement needs to do to convince No voters to support independence, Ms Forbes suggested that the economics of separation need to be clearer.

She said: “The fault line run along the economic argument.

“On all the infrastructure of the economy, we need an answer.”

Mr Yousaf, Ms Sturgeon’s Health Secretary, also jumped to the defence of his government.

He told the hustings that “we have achieved so much as a government”.

He added: “Our record is a good one. I’m proud to be part of the SNP government.”

Addressing the blueprint for growing support for independence, Mr Yousaf told party members that “we have got to inspire people”.

He added: “If we grow that consistent majority support for independence, independence becomes inevitable.”

But Mr Yousaf took a dig at his rivals, who have questioned whether the Scottish Government should fight the UK Government decision to block the gender recognition reforms through a section 35 order.

Mr Yousaf told activists that “the next first minister absolutely has to fight against the section 35 order”.

Read more: Regan defends plan to work with convicted perjurer Sheridan on Indy

He added: “If the first act of the new first minister is to cave in, they will come after bill after bill and we just cannot allow it.”

Ms Regan told party activists that the SNP needs a more aggressive strategy to deliver independence, and insisted that “ we don’t need to ask the permission of Westminster” for separation.

She claimed that “not many countries have become independent through referendums”, and called for a “permanent mechanism” that would “give that powers back to the people of Scotland”.

She added that we are “one election away from Scotland choosing to govern itself”.

Ms Regan has previously raised eyebrows after claiming an independent Scotland can roll out its own currency within months of leaving the Union.

She told activists in the capital that it is important to “normalise that idea”, adding that “moving to another currency is normal”.

Ms Regan stressed that a strategy that involves keeping the Pound would be a “crazy experiment on the Scottish economy”.

Mr Yousaf said that “Scotland should have its own currency”, but insisted “we have got to work through a transition”.

He added: “We have got to be absolutely credible in what we are putting forward in terms of currency”.

Ms Forbes also backed Scotland’s own currency, but only “at a time that is right”.

She added: “What’s most important in the first few days of independence is having a stable economy.”

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