Theresa May's Conference Speech 'Like Fawlty Towers', Nicola Sturgeon Says
5 October 2017, 14:07
Nicola Sturgeon has compared the Prime Minister's conference speech to an episode of TV sitcom Fawlty Towers.
Ms Sturgeon criticised the "shambolic Tory government" and urged it to reverse "wrong-headed and deeply immoral" welfare cuts.
Theresa May was beset with problems during her address to the Tory conference in Manchester on Wednesday, including being interrupted by a comedian handing her a P45, part of the scenery falling down and being troubled by a recurring cough.
Speaking at First Minister's Questions, Ms Sturgeon said: "Watching the letters literally fall off the stage set yesterday was like watching an episode of Fawlty Towers it was so awful.
"But there is a serious point here. This a shambolic, chaotic Tory Westminster government that is doing real damage day in and day out to people right across Scotland and right across the UK."
She said in light of this, the refusal of Scottish Labour leadership candidates Anas Sarwar and Richard Leonard to work with the SNP "beggars belief" and indicates they would prefer a continued Tory government than work with her party.
Labour's interim leader Alex Rowley said he wanted a general election to be called as soon as possible and Jeremy Corbyn to become prime minister.
He said: "The government in Westminster is bankrupt of ideas and has got no place to go."
He called on Ms Sturgeon to set aside the £400,000 needed to mitigate Westminster cuts to the employment support allowance (ESA) for cancer sufferers.
MacMillan Cancer Support claims 280 cancer patients in Scotland have lost out on £120 a month in ESA since the cuts came into force in April.
Mr Rowley pledged to bring forward amendments to the social security bill to mitigate this if the SNP failed to act.
He said: "£400,000 from a government budget of £30 billion is not a lot to stop the Tory attack on cancer patients, but for those people and their families it will certainly mean a lot."
Ms Sturgeon said mitigating payments would be considered in draft budget discussions, adding: "We will mitigate where we can."
She said: "When the UK Government makes these wrong-headed and deeply immoral cuts, they save money from something doing that.
"They don't pass a portion of that saving on to the Scottish Government, so any mitigation we put in place involves us taking money from other parts of the Scottish budget."
She added that the government cannot mitigate every welfare cut the UK Government makes and urged Labour to support complete devolution of welfare powers to Holyrood.
Ms Sturgeon and Mr Rowley also agreed to continue calling on the UK Government to halt its planned rollout of Universal Credit, with the First Minister saying she had "serious concerns" about problems with new payments putting people into debt.
She said: "I don't think any government in good conscience could continue with rollout of Universal Credit."