Politics

Nicola Sturgeon posse heckle Ruth Davidson during crucial Scotland support question

FMQs: Ruth Davidson heckled during question to Sturgeon

Ruth Davidson was forced to stop in the midst of her question to the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as SNP MSPs attempted to shout her down. Ms Davidson continued to press the First Minister for an answer on whether Scotland’s Government would accept assistance from the British Armed Forces to aid the country’s vaccination programme. Turning to address her hecklers directly, Ms Davidson blasted the SNP members for their “derisory” response

Ms Davidson said: “Sorry I am not quite sure why this is getting such a derisory response from those in a seated position.

“I think the people of Scotland would like to hear whether the First Minister will accept further military assistance and the mutual aid offered by the UK Government

“To get Scotland’s vaccination programme caught up with the rest of the UK.”

Ms Sturgeon previously recruited the British Army’s support in order to establish 80 new mass vaccine centres in Scotland. 

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The Secretary of State of Scotland Alister Jack MP wrote to the First Minister on Tuesday to offer further assistance from the army.

In response to the question in FMQs, Ms Sturgeon said: “We already are drawing on assistance from the armed forces and have done so throughout the pandemic,” adding that she was “grateful” for their support.

She continued: “Can I just say that any support the armed forces gives to Scotland whether it’s on vaccines, at an early stage it was on PEE or logistics associated with setting up the NHS Louisa Jordan

“It is not a favour from the Secretary of Scotland it is our armed forces that the people of Scotland pay for through their taxes.

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“So let us forget it is somehow the UK Government doing Scotland a favour.

“We will continue to draw on as appropriate the support of the Armed Forces.”

The clash comes as academics from the London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance say the economic costs of independence are two or three times greater than Brexit due to the volume of Scotland’s trade with the rest of the UK.

Study authors Hanwei Huang, Thomas Sampson and Patrick Schneider said the economic impact of Brexit would become clear after 10 to 15 years – but the economic impact of Scottish independence could take even longer to gauge.

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Professor Huang said: “This analysis shows that, at least from a trade perspective, independence would leave Scotland considerably poorer than staying in the United Kingdom.

“While many considerations will play a role in shaping the outcome of a second referendum, voters need to know what the likely costs and benefits of each course will be This briefing contributes to that knowledge.”

Prof Sampson said: “We find that the costs of independence to the Scottish economy are likely to be two to three times greater than the costs of Brexit.

“Moreover, rejoining the EU following independence would do little to mitigate these costs, and in the short run would probably lead to greater economic losses than maintaining a common economic market with the rest of the UK.”

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