Sturgeon fires independence warning as she is elected First Minister

‘Scotland’s future must be Scotland’s choice’: Nicola Sturgeon fires an independence warning shot at Boris Johnson as she is re-elected as First Minister

  • The SNP leader insisted that ‘Scotland’s future must be Scotland’s choice’ 
  • She was returned as First Minister in a vote of MSPs today following election win 
  • Douglas Ross told her not to ‘put political priorities ahead of Scotland’s interests’

Nicola Sturgeon fired a pro-independence warning shot at Boris Johnson today as she was re-elected as First Minister.

The SNP leader insisted that ‘Scotland’s future must be Scotland’s choice’ as MSPs overwhelmingly returned her to the top post following the nationalist victory in Holyrood elections two weeks ago.

Setting out her priorities in the Scottish Parliament today she said she wanted to lead the country ‘to brighter and better times’ with recovery from the coronavirus pandemic her ‘driving priority’.

‘If re-nominated today, I will continue to do so as we do implement a programme to kickstart recovery,’ she told MPS ahead of voting this afternoon.

‘That will be a programme with the NHS, the economy and jobs at its heart, and we will take an inclusive approach to the debate that all countries must have about how we can build the best possible post-pandemic future.

‘And, in that endeavour, everyone in Scotland deserves to have an equal say; Scotland’s future must be Scotland’s choice.’

The SNP leader insisted that ‘Scotland’s future must be Scotland’s choice’ as MSPs overwhelmingly returned her to the top post following the nationalist victory in Holyrood elections two weeks ago.

New Tory leader Douglas Ross  attacked the SNP’s record in power for the past 14 years over education, drugs deaths, crime and an economy that had ‘stagnated’

Ms Sturgeon and the SNP fell one seat short of an overall Holyrood majority following the ‘Super Thursday’ elections 

Ms Sturgeon acknowledged opinion on independence was ‘evenly balanced’ and said that while nationalist views should not be ignored, pro-union Scots ‘mustn’t feel as if you are being bludgeoned towards an outcome you have not been persuaded of’.

She continued: ‘Our economic prospects depend on us attracting more people to live and work here in Scotland and yet on Thursday, in Kenmure Street in my constituency, immigration officials tried to forcibly remove two individuals against the wishes of their community.

‘With independence, the decisions that shape our future will lie with us.’

Ms Sturgeon defeated both Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, who each put themselves forward as alternative candidates to be First Minister.

She won 64 votes, ahead of Mr Ross on 31, four for Willie Rennie and 28 MSPs abstained.

Mr Ross, the former Westminster minister turned Scottish Tory leader, won a seat for the Highlands and Islands a fortnight ago to allow him to sit in Holyrood.

After Ms Sturgeon was re-elected as First Minister he attacked the SNP’s record in power for the past 14 years over education, drugs deaths, crime and an economy that had ‘stagnated’.

In a thinly veiled attack on her separatist ambitions he added: ‘We have to take Scotland forward. A Parliament of delivery. A Parliament of purpose.

”A Parliament that unites this country and leads it in a national mission to get us all through this.

‘If that is the task that the SNP Government applies itself to 100 per cent then it will find support from these benches.

‘But if they deviate from that task, if they put political priorities ahead of Scotland’s interests; if they waste time in this chamber on old arguments instead of constructive delivery then we will fight them every step of the way.’   

Ms Sturgeon and the SNP fell one seat short of winning an overall majority in Holyrood at the ‘Super Thursday’ elections. But thanks to the support of the Green Party’s eight MSPs, she is able to retain control of the Scottish Parliament.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar warned Ms Sturgeon not to act as ‘a campaigner leading a movement for half the country’.

But she has made clear she still intends to push for a re-run of the 2014 border poll to split from the rest of the UK. 

She discussed her plans with Mr Johnson in a phone call after the vote as she said she will ‘ensure that the people of Scotland can choose our own future when the [coronavirus] crisis is over’.   

But Mr Johnson has repeatedly poured cold water on the idea of holding another vote, arguing the 2014 edition was supposed to be a once in a generation event. 

An official border poll can only take place if Mr Johnson agrees to it, although Ms Sturgeon could take the UK Government to court to challenge the PM’s authority on the matter. 

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar warned Ms Sturgeon not to act as ‘a campaigner leading a movement for half the country’.  

‘The national recovery can’t just be a slogan; it must be our Parliament’s collective national mission on behalf of the people we are all elected to represent,’ he told Holyrood.

‘So, over the coming years, let’s be inspired by the future we can build; not the arguments of the past.

‘Let’s demonstrate the best of Scotland and let’s focus on what unites us; not what divides us.’  

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