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by Andrew Learmonth
15 March 2021
Tories to push ahead with vote of no confidence in Nicola Sturgeon

Tories to push ahead with vote of no confidence in Nicola Sturgeon

THE Scottish Conservatives are to push ahead with a vote of no confidence in Nicola Sturgeon.

Speaking at the party’s virtual spring conference, Douglas Ross said it was beyond doubt that the First Minister had lied to parliament over key meetings with Alex Salmond. 

Ross said: “The evidence against Nicola Sturgeon is overwhelming and mounting up every day.

“If we allow her to get away with this, then we say that the truth is worthless in Scottish politics.

“We can’t let more than £500,000 wasted, lies to Parliament and the mother of all cover-ups, go without challenge.”

He added: “So, we will bring that vote of no confidence in the First Minister.

“Win or lose – we will put all the damage that she has done out there for all to see.

“We will not hold back. From now to May, we’re not going to back off an inch.

“I would urge the other parties to get behind us, to stand up for truth, stand up for our parliament, stand up to the SNP.

“We have the votes, don’t cave in again, don’t duck this chance to be counted,

“Don’t let Nicola Sturgeon get away with this.”

However, just seconds after his plea to the other parties for support, he then attacked the other parties. 

“The Scottish Greens, well they are just Nicola Sturgeon’s lackeys. Then there is the Liberal Democrats, teetering on the edge of political extinction for the last six years. 

“Finally, there is the Labour Party. Anas Sarwar says he wants to move Scotland on from division but he cannot even unite his divided party.”

Speaking to journalists later, he was asked if this was the best way to win friends and influence people.

Ross said: “They can see the evidence that’s very clear to the Scottish Conservatives and people across Scotland.

“It’s undeniable that Nicola Sturgeon has lied to the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish people, she and her government have wasted hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ money with a case that they were told by their lawyers would not be successful. 

“If political leaders are so sensitive about what other political leaders say about them, then they shouldn’t really be in politics if that’s a determinant on how they vote.”

He said Labour, the Greens and the LibDems had not been an effective opposition.

In his speech, Ross said the SNP would claim a majority as a mandate to hold another divisive independence referendum.

And, if the UK Government refused to consent, he added, this could include a “a wildcat referendum and a Catalan-style constitutional clash with the UK Government”.

He said: “We in the Scottish Conservatives will play no part in an illegal vote. It would encourage disorder, anarchy, chaos. And yet it is now SNP policy.

“Their membership demand indyref2 now, regardless of the cost to us all as we emerge from the devastation of the pandemic.

“If we give them free reign, if they win a majority, they will hold a referendum at the earliest opportunity. They will not pass up that chance.”

However, the party have so far declined to categorically rule out a Section 30 order, which would devolve the powers necessary for a legally watertight vote.

Last week, reports suggested the Prime Minister would use his speech to the Tory conference to rule out granting the order. However, he stopped short of actually doing so.

Asked on Monday if Johnson would grant a Section 30 order if the SNP win a majority, his press secretary Allegra Stratton said: “You know very well that’s a hypothetical which I’m never going to answer.

“The PM has been frank about his view that right now the Scottish people want us to be focused on fighting the pandemic, fighting the coronavirus and supporting everybody’s jobs, so that people, when the restrictions are lifted, fully can get on back with their lives.”

Stratton added: “You’ve got the PM’s words from the weekend, where he addressed this in detail and he talked about the support we are giving the Scottish people as they are dealing with the pandemic, as it is getting closer and closer to everyone getting back on their feet, making sure employment and jobs are there for the Scottish people to move back into life after Covid.”

Asked if he could categorically say there would be no Section 30 order, Ross said: “I've been very clear that there is absolutely no way we should be looking at granting a section 30 order, discussing a referendum. looking at campaigning to separate Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom as we continue to fight a health pandemic, and then we get into the economic response, and the recovery from Covid-19.”

Responding to Ross's speech, the SNP's depute leader Keith Brown said: "This election boils down to one key issue – it’s about stopping Boris Johnson deciding Scotland’s future, and that means giving both votes to the SNP in May.  

“The question is who the people of Scotland want to lead their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. A Scottish Government elected by the people of Scotland, or a Westminster government we didn't vote for, led by Boris Johnson, who has proved time and again he can’t be trusted?

"Douglas Ross’s speech is typical hypocrisy from the Tories. A party which has form for dodging transparency, and was recently found to have acted unlawfully by handing out billions in contracts to friends and Tory donors, is in no position to talk about sleaze.

"Boris Johnson and his Tory colleagues have made it clear that the future they want for Scotland includes a hard Brexit which devastates our economy, cuts to our NHS and public services, lower food and environmental standards, and taking a wrecking ball to the hard-won powers of devolution.

"With both votes SNP in May, we can put Scotland's future in Scotland's hands - not Boris Johnson's."

Read the most recent article written by Andrew Learmonth - MSPs expected to confirm SNP leader as first minister

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