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by Louise Wilson
17 November 2022
Sturgeon and Ross clash over shipbuilding in independent Scotland

Sturgeon and Ross clash over shipbuilding in independent Scotland

The first minister has insisted the building of warships on the Clyde would continue "regardless of the constitutional future of Scotland".

Nicola Sturgeon was responding to a suggestion by Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross that Royal Navy ships would "almost certainly be built elsewhere" if Scotland became independent.

He said the commissioning for five Type 26 frigates by the UK Government earlier this week was a "massive boost to Scottish shipbuilding".

He added: "An investment of this scale in engineering and manufacturing jobs would not be possible if the SNP got their way. If the nationalists ever manage to separate Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom, these Royal Navy ships would almost certainly be built elsewhere and the highly skilled Scottish jobs lost.”

But Sturgeon, while welcoming the investment, said the "world class" sector would continue and that "an independent Scotland would have naval capabilities of its own".

She added: "If Douglas Ross wants to have a debate about the benefits – or as he would say, otherwise – of independence, then I would welcome that. Let’s have that debate and then let’s have the people of Scotland decide the outcome in a referendum.”

Meanwhile, Labour's Anas Sarwar challenged the first minister on pressures facing GPs. He said: "This government is not doing enough to tackle the GP crisis."

He pointed to estimates from the BMA that there was a shortage of a thousand GPs in Sotland.

Sturgeon said the whole NHS was "under significant pressure" but the Scottish Government was working to recruit more GPs over the coming years.

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