Tory minister accuses Nicola Sturgeon of getting priorities wrong
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Holyrood politicians cheered Douglas Ross as he recalled a commitment made by Scottish politicians to put the country’s recovery from the pandemic at the forefront of their political goals. But the Scottish Tory butchered Nicola Sturgeon after he pointed out her Programme for Government speech to Holyrood mentioned Scottish independence “four paragraphs in” and accused her of getting her “priorities wrong”. SNP MP Alasdair Allan attempted to bite back at Mr Ross by stating it was not a secret the SNP were in favour of independence during the May election as the Tory leader stated the SNP failed to get a majority in that same election and had no mandate.
The Programme for Government is published every year and sets out the current Scottish Government’s plans for the year ahead.
Ms Sturgeon was due to lay out the plans last week but took the time to appoint two new junior ministers instead as part of her power-sharing agreement with the Green Party.
Green Party co-leaders, Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, were appointed as junior ministers and will be allowed access to Scottish cabinet meetings.
But during her Programme for Government speech on Tuesday, Mr Ross was allowed to respond to her commitments for the next year but noted something peculiar about the speech.
He told Holyrood: “This is a Programme for Government which was delayed from last week because Nicola Sturgeon prioritised taking green MSPs into her government over outlining her plans for the year ahead.
“And her priorities were wrong last week and they’re still wrong this week.
“Because another independence referendum is front and centre of the First Minister’s plans for the year ahead.
“In a statement, that is 27 pages long, it takes just until the fourth paragraph for Nicola Sturgeon to mention independence.
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“It’s right up there in front of all of the other priorities that we should have.”
Mr Ross noted SNP MPs were heckling him and demanding to respond to his attacks.
Alasdair Allan replied: “[Douglas Ross] mentions all this as if it was never made clear, either in the manifesto or in the results of the election.
“That the SNP is in favour of a referendum on independence.
Mr Ross quickly responded and was cheered: “The election that Mr Allen references was one where the SNP failed to get the majority.
“Alasdair Allan, Nicola Sturgeon, Hamza Yusuf, all of the SNP MSPs, like all of the Conservative MSPs, all of the Labour MSPs, all of the Liberal Democrats MSPs and all of the Green MSPs, said in the election that our priority for each and every one of the 129 of us would be Scotland’s recovery from this pandemic.
“But that’s not the priority of this First Minister who told the people to trust her to prioritise the recovery who has put front and centre on paragraph four of her statement another independence referendum.”
Mr Ross then mocked Ms Sturgeon further when she asked to respond to his speech after he stated the First Minister already had nearly an hour laying out her plans.
Nicola Sturgeon said Mr Ross should look at the rest of the speech as it laid out her plans for taking Scotland out of the pandemic.
Mr Ross accused her of putting independence as the “top priority” and demanded she and the Scottish Government addresses the drug deaths and NHS backlogs which are exceedingly high in the country.
Among the plans for Ms Sturgeon, the First Minister said tackling the climate emergency is a “moral and economic imperative” for the government.
She added: “We must act fast to decarbonise heat and transport – just as we have already done for electricity.
“I can confirm today that we will invest at least £1.8 billion over the course of this parliament to make homes and buildings easier and greener to heart – this will enable the decarbonisation of one million homes by 2030.”
Ms Sturgeon also wants to trial a four-day working week and will set aside funds for businesses who take part.
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