Tory MP calls out Nicola Sturgeon for chatting during his speech
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Nicola Sturgeon laid out her Programme for Government speech in Holyrood where she revealed the SNP’s commitments to a greener future, tackling the NHS backlog and gaining independence for Scotland. Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross was invited to respond to the speech but soon became confrontational after Ms Sturgeon began speaking with her Health Secretary Hamza Yousaf during his monologueue. Mr Ross was furious and told Ms Sturgeon she could not speak unless he gave way to her as the chamber quickly turned tense and hostile.
The Programme for Government is published every year and sets out the current Scottish Government’s plans for the year ahead.
Ms Sturgeon was due to lay out the plans last week but took the time to appoint two new junior ministers instead as part of her power-sharing agreement with the Green Party.
Green Party co-leaders, Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, were appointed as junior ministers and will be allowed access to Scottish cabinet meetings.
As Mr Ross began attacking Ms Sturgeon’s speech he abruptly paused as he noted the First Minister was talking which saw the Presiding Officer also forced to intervene.
Mr Ross said: “She was chuntering away to her health secretary, sorry First Minister when I am standing you have to sit.
“We were told there would be a new kind of politics and it seems the First Minister likes to announce a new style of politics but not deliver it herself.”
Ms Sturgeon was then allowed to speak and said: “[I told my health secretary] that listening to Douglas Ross was like playground politics and couldn’t we improve our game.
“So maybe he wants to join me on that and maybe we can hear some substance from Douglas Ross instead of what we have had five minutes into his speech.”
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MSPs began yelling as the chamber became increasingly rowdy at the clash.
Mr Ross called it “ironic” that Ms Sturgeon was accusing anyone of playground politics before mentioning he agreed with the SNP’s childcare plans as an illustration his speech had substance.
The Scottish Tory also had issues with Ms Sturgeon’s speech focussing on independence as he noted her plans mentioned independence before many other important topics.
He told Holyrood: “This is a Programme for Government which was delayed from last week because Nicola Sturgeon prioritised taking green MSPs into her government over outlining her plans for the year ahead.
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“And her priorities were wrong last week and they’re still wrong this week.
“Because another independence referendum is front and centre of the First Minister’s plans for the year ahead.
“In a statement, that is 27 pages long, it takes just until the fourth paragraph for Nicola Sturgeon to mention independence.”
Among the other plans for Ms Sturgeon, the First Minister said tackling the climate emergency is a “moral and economic imperative” for the government.
She added: “We must act fast to decarbonise heat and transport – just as we have already done for electricity.”
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