Indyref not centre stage at SNP conference

6 October 2018, 07:17 | Updated: 6 October 2018, 07:29

SNP

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has hailed the Scottish Government's "world-leading examples of progressive policies", as his party gears up for its autumn conference.

The SNP will gather in Glasgow on Sunday for the three-day event, including a keynote address by Nicola Sturgeon.

The First Minister has come under increasing pressure to update supporters on her plans for a second independence referendum in light of Brexit.

Her political opponents have criticised her Government's record at Holyrood, labelling her recent programme for government as "light on substance".

But Mr Swinney said action on climate change, measures to tackle alcohol misuse, and ministers' flagship commitment on childcare demonstrates progress towards "a fairer, more prosperous" Scotland.

He added: "With the SNP leading its government, Scotland is forging ahead and proving world-leading examples of progressive policies in action.

"Our record in Government is one of delivering for the people of Scotland: creating a fairer, more prosperous country with strength in our public services and fairness at the heart of what we do.

"But we're conscious the challenges of the future are considerable, and these are not unique to Scotland.

"Climate change affects every single one of us - it's a threat that should never be understated. That's why we're setting the most ambitious climate change targets anywhere in the world.

"Addressing poverty and inequality across the global is one of the biggest challenges of our times. That's why we're standing up to exploitative employers by seeking to end support they get from public funds.

"In facing up to Scotland's historic challenges on public health, we became the first country to take action to save lives through introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol - in face of stiff opposition from big business.

"This is the sort of Scotland we want to build for the future - healthier, fairer, greener, more prosperous for everyone."

Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said: "Despite all the rhetoric, the fact is that this conference will be dominated by all the things the SNP leadership don't want to talk about.

"The omissions of indyref2 and the growth commission show just how divided the membership is.

"And with waiting times at their longest ever, crime rising and the dumped education Bill, the SNP can't talk about their record either.

"The SNP can try to stifle debate all they want, it is obvious this is a tired administration struggling to prevent civil war."