Nicola Sturgeon and Douglas Ross clash in election debate
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The Scottish Tories, led by Douglas Ross, head into the crunch Scottish election on May 6 hoping to topple the SNP by taking full advantage of the controversies that have engulfed the country’s ruling party over recent weeks and months. During the last parliamentary elections in 2016, the SNP were reduced to a minority Government – just two years after they suffered a major blow when the country voted against Scottish independence. The SNP, led by Nicola Sturgeon, lost six seats to leave them on 63, while the Scottish Tories doubled their number of MSPs to 31.
Mr Ross remains confident that if his party can replicate the success from five years ago, they can pose a major challenge to the SNP’s grip on power in Scotland.
The Scottish Tory leader also vowed to stop the SNP with pushing ahead with “another reckless referendum” on Scottish independence.
Mr Ross told Express.co.uk: “We can stop the SNP and stop them pushing ahead with another reckless referendum.
“The 14 years of misery from the SNP mean so many things need addressing – education system, economy that has been ignored by the SNP.
“We must protect people’s jobs, invest in local communities.
“We will highlight their dismal term in office, how they have let down the Scottish people, how the insistence on another independence referendum has meant our services in Scotland have not received the attention they deserve.
“Given the Scottish political system with proportional representation, a vote for a party not strong and determined to fight the SNP only helps the nationalists.
“If people unite behind the Scottish Conservatives to stand up to them and stand up for Scotland’s place in the UK, we can stop them like in 2016 when the Scottish Conservatives doubled the number of MSPs.”
Mr Ross also claimed Ms Sturgeon is prioritising Indyref2 ahead what should matter most to the people of Scotland – a quick and strong recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
But he warned Scots need to quickly realise that would be her mandate moving forward as “their desire to separate Scotland from the rest of the UK trumps all else”.
The Scottish Conservative leader concluded: “People are looking for an alternative to the SNP because they are fed up with how they have failed Scotland.
“They want to see our focus on rebuilding Scotland, rather than the referendum.
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“What the Scottish people have to realise is when Sturgeon seeks another mandate, that mandate is not to focus on education, which she previously said is her top priority, not to focus on the Covid recovery – it will always be for the SNP to hold another independence referendum.
“Their desire to separate Scotland from the rest of the UK trumps all else.”
The Scottish Tory leader had also clashed with the First Minister during the first live Scottish election televised debate last Tuesday, when she insisted the SNP would offer Scots “a choice on independence” once the Covid crisis was over.
A furious Mr Ross hit back: “We can’t have a recovery and a referendum.”
He said the focus must be on rebuilding Scotland and hit out at the SNP, accusing them of wanting to “take us through another divisive independence referendum”.
Mr Ross said: “Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed she would want a referendum in the next two years, the next two years, when we are still dealing with this health pandemic.
“When we’re still trying to recover our economy, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed to everyone tonight that the SNP will take us forward into another independence referendum if they get that majority.”
He added: “The Scottish Conservatives want to stop them. The future of our country is at stake.”
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