Round-up: #SNP15 conference day 1


The first day of the SNP’s three-day conference featured speeches by Nicola Sturgeon and Angus Robertson

THE first day of the SNP’s three-day conference covered a range of resolutions tackling issues from devolution and public services to TTIP and women prisoners.

The conference also heard speeches from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Angus Robertson MP, John Swinney MSP and Tommy Sheppard MP.

CommonSpace looks at the key events on the first day of conference.

Nicola Sturgeon’s speech

Nicola Sturgeon’s speech at the start of conference downplayed constitutional issues and focused on domestic Scottish policy and the Scottish Government’s record.

The keynote announcement was that the next SNP government, if elected, would build 50,000 new homes in the lifetime of the next parliament.

To cheers from the packed audience, she said: “We have taken steps to safeguard social housing for the future by abolishing the right to buy.We must now go further and we will. I am therefore announcing today a bold new commitment. If we are re-elected next May, our target in the next parliament will be to build at least 50,000 new affordable homes.”

Sturgeon also updated conference on the continued growth of the SNP’s membership: “Last year, by conference, our membership had grown from 25,000 to 85,000. Today, I can tell you that it has grown even more. Today, our membership stands at 114,121,” she said.

SNP conference

Scotland Bill

A resolution, moved by Angus Robertson MP and Linda Fabiani MSP calling for the delivery of more powers, was passed by applause from the conference floor.

John Swinney told the conference that Prime Minister David Cameron had talked about establishing a “respect agenda” after the referendum, and said: “David Cameron must respect that fact that the Westminster parties won three seats in Scotland at the General election, and we won the rest”

In a rousing Speech Tommy Sheppard told conference that the SNP’s General Election result represented an “overwhelming mandate” for the SNP to demand home rule and that the abandonment of “the vow” a “monstrous deciet”.

He said: “The Tories don’t have a quarrel with just the SNP, they have a quarrel with the Scottish people.”

Protecting public services

A resolution, congratulating the Scottish Government on its “decisive action” in protecting public services and condemning the Conservative government’s cuts was passed after an attempt to return (cancel) the resolution by a delegate.

Robert Martin, from the Linlithgow branch, speaking from the podium said: “What we need from the conference is not just complaints about what the size of the budget will be, but priorities about how it will be spent.

“We are a party of government and we should be making decisions like that here and now and particularly before the election in 2016. We need a proper debate,” he said.

Responding to Martin, Shona Robison MSP the cabinet secretary for health, wellbeing and sport said: “The Scottish Government’s health budget is bigger than ever at PS12bn, but with ever increasing demands placed upon it. But I can assure Robert and others that we will never be complacent when it comes to our NHS. We will lay out exactly what we intend to do in our manifesto and put that before the people of Scotland.”

The SNP at Westminster

Leader of the SNP group in the UK parliament Angus Robertson led the speeches at a rally of SNP Westminster parliamentarians including Philippa Whitford MP and Tommy Sheppard MP.

Speaking about the SNP’s interventions he said:”I’m proud that it was the SNP who were the first to raise issue of the refugee crisis at Prime Minister Questions.”

He also criticised Labour for U-turns on the fiscal charter and Trident:”Now many people, including in the SNP have wanted to wish Jeremy Corbyn well in pursuing a progressive political agenda,” he said

“Unbelievably however, he and John McDonnell were planning to vote with George Osbourne and his Tory Fiscal charter.

“As they have themselves acknowledged, the SNP and the Scottish dimension played an important role in forcing a change in their plans. And last night many, but not all Labour MPs voted with the SNP.”

CommonSpace is running a live news room from the #SNP15 conference in Aberdeen. Readers can keep up to date with developments on the CommonSpace website and via our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Pictures courtesy of Keith Laverack , Common Weal