Douglas Ross grilled by host on Sturgeon no confidence vote
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During the last Scottish election in 2014, the SNP suffered humiliation after being reduced to a minority Government winning 61 out of the 129 available seats in the Holyrood parliament. Scotland’s ruling party is hoping to reverse that trend and gain a majority in the upcoming election on May 6, and has vowed to use such a result as a mandate to press ahead with a second referendum on Scottish independence. But the SNP has come under huge pressure over recent weeks, with Ms Sturgeon’s political rivals demanding she resign after she was found to have “misled” the Scottish parliament over her knowledge of harassment complaints against former First Minister Alex Salmond.
Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, has warned Ms Sturgeon’s refusal to stand down from her position could backfire badly against the SNP and result in election humiliation.
He told Express.co.uk: “There is a lack of trust around the SNP and Scottish Government, which Sturgeon has led for the last number of years.
“There has been failure after failure from the SNP Government over the last 14 years, and we can do so much better than that.
“We brought forward a vote of no confidence because the cross-party committee said she had misled parliament, and it is right the main opposition party in Scotland hold the Government and its ministers to account.
“Nicola Sturgeon is refusing to resign and is seeking another term as First Minister, but we can’t let that go unchecked.
“She has apologised on behalf of her Government for the failings and when this is challenged, it’s right for the Scottish Conservatives to hold the Government to account.
“We’re not afraid to stand up against the SNP, but it’s a shame the opposition parties don’t feel as strongly as we do.
“The SNP are not willing to accept responsibility for failings and they are letting Scotland down.
“We need to unite behind the strongest party to stop them doing that again.”
The Scottish Conservative leader warned Ms Sturgeon could backtrack on a mandate promise he had vowed to be a top priority because her desire to Scotland from the rest of the UK will overtake all else.
He added: “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, and that’s what voters should unite behind the Scottish Conservatives to stop them from doing that.
“The SNP want to take us back to another divisive and damaging referendum rather than focusing on rebuilding Scotland after the pandemic, which is what the Scottish Conservatives want to do.
“You can’t do both – you can’t have a referendum and rebuild after the pandemic.
“The SNP know that, and only by people who in favour of Scotland remaining part of the UK and getting behind the Scottish Conservatives can we stop the referendum and get the focus back on our recovery.”
Mr Ross also set out the plan from the Scottish Conservatives to oust the SNP and Ms Sturgeon from power, and is confident his party can end “14 years of misery” and destroy the Scottish independence dream.
He added: “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.
“We can get the focus back on the issues that matter to the people of Scotland.
“The 14 years of misery from the SNP mean so many things need addressing, such as our education system, the economy that has been ignored by the SNP.
“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.
“People are looking for an alternative to the SNP because they are fed up with how they have failed Scotland for the last 14 years.
“We are the strongest party in every part of Scotland to stand up to the nationalists and separate our country.”
Last Tuesday, Ms Sturgeon survived a vote of no confidence, brought by the Scottish Tories, by 65 votes to 31 with 27 abstentions.
The First Minister also told the Tories: “If you think you can bully me out of office, you are mistaken and you misjudge me.
“If you want to remove me as First Minister do it in an election.”
She added: “If today’s desperate political stunt proves anything, it is that you have no confidence whatsoever in your ability to do so, because you have nothing positive to offer the Scottish people.”
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