Nicola Sturgeon described the general election as the “most important” facing Scots for many years
- Nicola Sturgeon’s warns Scotland’s future is on the line in General Election
- Manifesto lays out three-part funding proposal for public services in Scotland
- Sturgeon says Jeremy Corbyn is not who she would choose as Labour leader
WARNING that Scotland’s future is “on the line” in the general election, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has launched her party’s manifesto setting out the ambitions of SNP MPs in Westminster.
Reiterating that the 12 December election will be the most important facing Scots in many years, Sturgeon warned that Brexit will continue to dominate Westminster politics for years to come, urging Scots to back the SNP to keep the option of escape open to demand a “better future”.
Speaking in Glasgow to supporters and press, Sturgeon said: “This election really matters – the future of Scotland is on the line. The opportunities for this and future generations are at stake. The kind of country we want to be is on the ballot paper.
“At the heart of it all, I ask people in Scotland to consider this simple but fundamental question before you cast your vote: Who should decide Scotland’s future – the people who live here or Boris Johnson?”
She added that a vote for the SNP in the December 12 election was a vote to both “escape Brexit” and to deprive the Conservative party of a majority – something the party will be keen to convince swing voters who want to keep Boris Johnson out of Downing Street.
Responding to a question from the Guardian’s Severin Carrell, Nicola Sturgeon also said that “if she did choose the leader of the Labour party” she would not choose Jeremy Corbyn.
The first minister added: “People in Scotland have the right to consider an alternative future. One in which Scotland’s future is in Scotland’s hands – not Boris Johnson’s. A future with Scotland as an equal partner with our closest friends in the rest of the UK and with the EU.
“In an independent Scotland we will always get the governments we vote for. The NHS will always be protected from a Tory-Trump trade deal. Decisions about taxation and social security will be made by the Scottish Parliament. We will have a migration policy tailored to Scotland’s needs.
“Scotland is a country of extraordinary talent and resources. We can be confident that a better future for Scotland is possible.
“We don’t have to put up with Brexit and the Westminster mess. We have the power at this election to change all that.”
As well as the expected commitment to ensuring Scotland had the right to decide on independence, the party also set out how SNP MPs would secure investment for Scottish public services as well as push for UK-wide progressive policies.
In a three-part funding proposal, the party says it would seek to convince the UK Government to raise per-head health spending in England in line with the levels in Scotland – with SNP estimates showing the increase in NHS England spending could deliver a £4 billion increase for NHS Scotland through the Barnett formula by 2024/25.
SNP MPs would also call for a reversal of austerity and the real terms cut to Scotland budget, which is estimated at £1.5 billion.
The manifesto also includes proposals for a “substantial increase” in paternity leave, with 12-weeks ring-fenced for the father, as well as an increase maternity and paternity pay.
Also included in the manifesto was the party’s previously announced NHS Protection Bill – which would put a double lock on future trade deals involving the NHS.
While Labour has proposed a similar bill, the SNP argue that devolved parliaments should have the power to consent, or not, to such trade deals which will impact devolved matters like the health service.
The manifesto also calls for increase powers to tackle Scotland’s drugs crisis, including devolution of the Misuse of Drugs Act which is currently reserved to Westminster and prevents the Scottish Government from introducing initiatives like safe drug consumption rooms.
As Labour seek to narrow the gap with the Conservatives, and a hung parliament looking more likely, the SNP manifesto will likely form the party’s key negiotiating aims for its MPs providing any kind of support to a minority Labour government.
Image courtesy of the Scottish Government