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by Margaret Taylor
28 April 2023
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross to attack the SNP's record in conference speech

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross to attack the SNP's record in conference speech

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross will today use a keynote address at his party’s spring conference to slate the SNP government and make the case for ousting the SNP’s MPs at the next general election.

The two-day event takes place in Glasgow today and tomorrow, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak due to address delegates later.

In his speech, Ross is expected to tell members that while First Minister Humza Yousaf has said he wants to “shift independence into fifth gear” the campaign is instead “going into reverse”. 

With reference to the ongoing financial crisis engulfing the SNP, Ross will say that the party’s financial troubles have dented the party’s credibility and “blown a huge hole in the economic case for independence”.

“The SNP wanted to hold an independence referendum in just six months’ time, when they cannot even find an auditor in the same timeframe,” he will say. 

“They wanted to set up a central bank, when they cannot even submit their own accounts. To borrow billions of pounds from the taxpayer to finance a new country, when they still owe tens of thousands of pounds to Peter Murrell.

“The SNP cannot even manage their own accounts, how can they be trusted on the finances of an independent Scotland?”

Looking ahead to next year’s general election, Ross will tell delegates that “people across Scotland have a choice”. 

“They can give Humza Yousaf a blank cheque, the thumbs up to continue to lead an incompetent government and to focus on the priorities of the SNP,” he will say.  

“Or they can unseat SNP MPs and their referendum obsession and send a strong signal to Humza Yousaf’s government to focus on their real priorities.

“And the best way that Scots can do this in seats right across our country is to vote for the Scottish Conservatives.” 

In response, the SNP said Sunak and the Conservatives should apologise to Scotland for "inflicting" Brexit and the cost-of-living crisis on it.

"Shameless Tory attempts to deflect attention from the damage they have caused to Scotland with their disastrous hard Brexit, record of austerity, and continued inaction on the cost-of-living crisis – will not work," said deputy leader Keith Brown.

“The truth is that the Tories  have absolutely nothing to offer the people of Scotland – and Douglas Ross lacks any credibility when it comes to standing up for people’s priorities.

“For all the empty rhetoric, he cannot escape the fact that his Tory government has plunged the UK into crisis and left millions of families poorer and worse off  –our economy has plummeted, mortgage rates have soared, and pensions have been put at risk."

Despite Ross’s attacks on the SNP government at Holyrood, other opposition parties slated the Conservatives’ record at Westminster, with Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton accusing the Scottish Tory leader of enabling that and representing “more of the divisive and dreary same".

“With Douglas Ross’s backing, the Tories have crashed the economy, hammered everyone into a brutal cost of living crisis, refused to bring in a meaningful windfall tax and are demonising the desperate with their heartless small boats legislation,” he said.

Ian Murray, Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, the Tories are “out of touch and out of time”, adding that the “economically illiterate and morally bankrupt party has been a disaster for Scotland”.

Read an in-depth interview with Douglas Ross here

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