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by Margaret Taylor
24 May 2024
Sunak and Ross head to Highlands as Tory election campaign begins

Rishi Sunak and Douglas Ross visited the Port of Nigg on Thursday | Alamy

Sunak and Ross head to Highlands as Tory election campaign begins

Rishi Sunak joined Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross in the Highlands on Thursday evening, ending a day of general election campaigning that saw the prime minister visit a distribution centre in Derbyshire and a brewery in Wales before stopping off at the village of Nigg.

The pair met with bosses at the Port of Nigg, which is part of the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Freeport – a project delivered by the UK Government in conjunction with the Scottish Government – but did not meet with any voters.

After Sunak called the snap election on Wednesday afternoon, First Minister John Swinney criticised him for scheduling it for 4 July – a date when many Scottish families will be on holiday due to the high number of schools having broken for the summer by that point.

Speaking to journalists during his visit, Sunak said it is "the right time for us as a country to have this conversation” and criticised the SNP's record on education.

"What we’ve seen is that Scottish schoolchildren have been let down," he said

"Scottish schools used to be the envy not just of the United Kingdom, but the envy of the world.

"But under the SNP Government they have plummeted down international league tables compared to schools in England, which have risen up."

The prime minister also accused the SNP of having an "obsession" with independence, adding that his "track record shows that I’m delivering for people in Scotland".

"We’ve invested £3bn in dozens of communities across Scotland, levelling up high streets, towns centres, whether that’s in Moray or Dumfries," he said.

"We’ve developed two free ports, which obviously we are at today, which are attracting jobs and investment.

"We are backing unequivocally Scotland’s north sea energy industry, oil and gas, because that’s going to give us energy security and support jobs and propsperity.

"And I’m doing my all my best to cut taxes for people in Scotland at the same time the SNP government is raising them."

During the SNP's campaign launch yesterday Swinney pledged that independence would be at the heart of the party's campaign and that "in an independent Scotland, never again will people here be subjected to an unelected Tory government".  

Labour leader Keir Starmer will be in Scotland today to launch Scottish Labour's campaign. 




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