Sturgeon: A manifesto to “strengthen Scotland’s hand” ahead of Brexit storm

Nathanael Williams

SNP leader puts her case to the voters in Perth as the party launches its General Election manifesto

FIRST MINISTER NICOLA STURGEON has described the SNP manifesto as one that “can strengthen Scotland’s hand” in a speech today (Tuesday 30 May) in Perth where she launched her party’s UK General Election manifesto.

In her speech to a hall of over 600 delegates, the First Minister of Scotland drew a sharp contrasting line between her party and the Tories who she describes as obsessed with “the hardest of Brexits” and dedicated to “taking Scotland’s economy off a cliff edge.”

She also painted the Labour party as a weak opposition on Brexit and the economy despite making it clear during the weekend that she would support a progressive alliance with UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn after the election.

Sturgeon said that “in order to boost Scotland’s chances of weathering the Brexit chaos and Tory cuts”, voters would have to back the SNP as a progressive and strong party.

“We know that decisions taken at Westminster in the years ahead will shape our country. So now, more than ever, it is vital to have strong SNP voices standing up for Scotland.

“With Labour in disarray, the Tories saw a chance to tighten their grip on the whole of the UK for many years to come. But with their true colours being exposed in this campaign, we have a real chance to keep them in check.

“This manifesto sets out a plan to end Tory cuts, protect Scottish jobs, and strengthen Scotland’s hand.”

“If you don’t want them to have a free hand to remove your hard won protections, make sure you elect strong voices who will stand up for you.” Nicola Sturgeon

At the manifesto launch, the SNP leader focused on safeguarding pensions following the Tories’ manifesto pledges to ending the triple lock for pensions and getting the elderly to pay for for social care through the value of their homes.

The manifesto also commits to a fairer tax system by pledging not to cut the tax of top rate earners and calls for a more progressive management of the deficit.

The Tories manifesto earlier this month focused on their UK General Election message of being a “strong and stable” government but fell foul of scrutiny when it emerged the party were going back on their 2010 manifesto commitment to defend the triple lock on pensions.

In recent polling by Survey Monkey for the Times, support for the Tories among those between the ages of 55 and 65 had dropped by 8 points after the party faced accusations it was taking older voters, one of their core constituencies, for granted.

“The Tory manifesto is nothing short of an assault on pensioners.” Nicola Sturgeon

The SNP leader added: “The Tory manifesto is nothing short of an assault on pensioners from the dementia tax, to the removal of the winter fuel allowance and the ending of the triple lock.

“To every older person in Scotland, I say this. It is clear that the Tories think they can take the votes of many older people for granted and their manifesto makes clear what they will do if given the chance.

“If you don’t want them to have a free hand to remove your hard won protections, make sure you elect strong voices who will stand up for you.”

Tory leader Theresa May has said she called the snap election in April for 8 June in order to strengthen her negotiating position ahead of Brexit negotiations. However, the campaign has seen the Conservatives lose much of their initial poll lead.

Picture: CommonSpace

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