Party conference season

Today, the SNP’s annual conference gets underway in Glasgow.

All eyes will be on Nicola Sturgeon as she tries to please her over-enthusiastic independence supporters, while struggling with the knowledge that voters in the real world don’t want another referendum.


Here’s what our chief executive Pamela Nash said ahead of the conference:


“This conference is an opportunity for Nicola Sturgeon to end the uncertainty and rule out a divisive second independence referendum.


“The people of Scotland don’t want a second referendum - we had a vote four years ago and we made our view clear. “What we need is a government which is focused on fixing our NHS, schools and economy, not obsessing about another referendum.


“This weekend, the SNP leader must put the country before her party.”

The SNP gathering is the final party conference of the 2018 season. Here’s a quick recap of what happened at the Tory, Labour and LibDem conferences:

The Conservatives:

- Prime Minister Theresa May said the SNP should ‘focus on the issues that matter to people in Scotland’ and forget about a second independence referendum.


- Mrs May attacked Nicola Sturgeon over the Common Fisheries Policy and said: “You claim to stand up for Scotland, but you want to lock Scottish fishermen into the CFP forever. That's not 'Stronger for Scotland', it's a betrayal of Scotland.”


- Scottish leader Ruth Davidson spoke about a second independence referendum and said: “My response and the Prime Minister’s response has been clear: the people of Scotland spoke. They said No. It’s time to move on.” She added: “The same message applies with Brexit.”


- Scottish Secretary David Mundell said Nicola Sturgeon should take a second independence referendum ‘off the table’, and called on the First Minister to snap out of her ‘constitutional Groundhog Day’.

Labour:

- UK leader Jeremy Corbyn said Labour is ‘once again offering a message of hope and real change’ in Scotland.


- Shortly before the conference got underway, Jeremy said he was ‘not ruling out’ giving consent for a second independence referendum if he becomes Prime Minister.


- But Scottish leader Richard Leonard said: “I don't think there is any support for a second independence referendum, which is why we are going to categorically, in our manifesto in the lead up to the general election… state our opposition to the holding of a second independence referendum."


- Mr Leonard also called for a federal Britain with extra powers for the Scottish Parliament.

Liberal Democrats:

- UK leader Vince Cable said his party must be ‘bold’, warning: “There may be a temptation to be what our colleagues in Scotland might call the ‘wee frees’ of British politics, sniffing suspiciously at newcomers and outsiders, who lack doctrinal purity.”


- Scottish leader Willie Rennie said ‘breaking up is hard to do’ and added: “The lessons of Brexit are the lessons for independence. Everyone can see it, except Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP.”


- UK deputy leader Jo Swinson said the Scottish nationalists ‘have a one-track mind’. “While the country edges closer to the precipice, they’re manoeuvring to turn Brexit into the break-up of the UK,” she said.

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