Sturgeon To Be Accessible Leader

7 November 2014, 06:04 | Updated: 7 November 2014, 06:48

Nicola Sturgeon will pledge to be Scotland's most accessible First Minister when she takes over the role from Alex Salmond later this month.

Ms Sturgeon will set out plans to regularly meet and answer questions from the public, when she gives a speech in Dundee today.

Her plans include monthly Facebook Q&As, regular town hall meetings, and taking the Scottish Government Cabinet to locations outside of Edinburgh every two months, alongside expanding the existing summer Cabinet visits.

She will also offer to meet with Holyrood's committee conveners on a regular basis to answer questions on the Government's record and plans.

The Deputy First Minister's visit to Dundee today is part of her tour across Scotland to speak to new SNP members and others who may want to join or support the party.

Ms Sturgeon will say: "For too long the conversation between politicians and the public has been reduced to 30-second soundbites and stage-managed public appearances. The referendum campaign changed all that, bringing citizens and politicians closer together than at any previous time in our nation's history.

"That might not always be comfortable, but it's exactly as it should be in a healthy democracy. And this level of accessibility and direct contact is perfectly possible in a nation of five million people and should be the standard all of the time - not just during such a high-level event as a referendum campaign.

"We live in a very different world from when the Scottish Parliament was reconvened in 1999, with modern methods of communication which can and should be employed to invigorate our democracy - in addition to the more traditional forms of engagement which came into their own in the Yes campaign.

"I am determined to lead an outward-looking Government, which is open and accessible to members of the public, ensuring that the SNP remain close to all the people we serve, regardless of how they vote.''

The SNP saw its membership surge from around 25,000 to over 83,000 after the independence referendum.

Ms Sturgeon's tour, which has already stopped in Edinburgh and Dumfries, will also visit Inverness, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

The Glasgow event, to be held in front of an audience 12,000 at the Hydro arena on November 22, comes the week after Ms Sturgeon takes over from Mr Salmond.

Ms Sturgeon - the only candidate for the SNP leadership - will be announced as the new leader at the SNP conference, while her appointment as First Minister will need to be formally approved by Holyrood.