The Scottish First Minister, delivering her keynote speech at the SNP’s conference in Aberdeen, hit out at the Prime Minister’s ‘unconscionable’ economic agenda.
She also blasted ‘aggressive Unionism’ from Westminster as she insisted that independence was ‘essential’ for Scotland.
Ms Sturgeon’s fresh tirade against the Conservatives came after the SNP leader suffered a furious backlash at the weekend for stating: ‘I detest the Tories.’
But, despite the row, the First Minister did not shy away from further attacks on Ms Truss’s party in her conference speech this afternoon.
She mocked the ‘chaos and catastrophe’ coming from Westminster, while she also took a swipe at Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour for ‘aiding and abetting’ the Tories.
Ms Sturgeon used her conference address to reiterate her vow, which she first made in June, to hold another Scottish independence referendum on 19th October next year.
But this is only if the UK Supreme Court rules her Scottish Government can hold a vote without permission from Westminster.
If judges – as expected – rule against Ms Sturgeon, the First Minister repeated that she would instead ‘put our case for independence to the people in an election’ as she pledged to ‘never ever give up on Scottish democracy’.
Ms Sturgeon announced she will publish next week the first in a series of Scottish Government papers that would ‘make the economic case for independence’.
Nicola Sturgeon used her SNP conference address to reiterate her vow to hold another Scottish independence referendum on 19th October next year
The SNP leader blasted ‘aggressive Unionism’ from Westminster as she insisted that independence was ‘essential’ for Scotland
Ms Sturgeon announced she will publish next week the first in a series of Scottish Government papers that would ‘make the economic case for independence’
Noting how this was her first in-person conference leader’s speech since 2019, Ms Sturgeon joked how the ‘only downside’ of not repeating her Covid-enforced Zoom speeches of recent years was ‘having to trade my slippers for these heels’.
‘We last gathered together as a party in October 2019. Back then, the Tories had just elected a new leader,’ the SNP leader said.
‘Westminster was in meltdown. A new Prime Minister was driving through a disastrous policy agenda, despite warnings of its dire economic impact.
‘And here we are, all over again. Another spin on the Tory misery-go-round.
‘This time the carousel is speeding up. It took the Tories three years to realise Boris Johnson was a disaster. With Liz Truss, it took them just three weeks.’
Ms Sturgeon said it was ‘unconscionable’ that Ms Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng had sought to fund tax cuts in their recent mini-Budget through ‘borrowing to be repaid by eye-watering austerity cuts and a raid on the incomes of the poorest’.
‘The PM’s justification is that she is going for growth,’ the First Minister added.
‘Let me tell you what kind of growth that will be. Growth in the gap between rich and poor.
‘Growth in the rates of poverty. Growth in the pressure on our NHS and other public services.
‘And, without any doubt, growth in the deep disgust the public feel for all of it.’
Ms Sturgeon insisted that Scottish independence was ‘the best way’ to protect the ‘partnership’ between UK nations.
She claimed that an ‘aggressive Unionism’ was currently ‘undermining that partnership’.
‘Westminster’s denial of Scottish democracy; full frontal attacks on devolution; a basic lack of respect,’ she added.
‘If there is tension, that is what is causing it.
‘It is Scottish independence – a new partnership of the isles – that can renew the whole idea of our nations working together for the common good.’
One of the loudest cheers during Ms Sturgeon’s speech came when she stated her intent to remain as First Minister for ‘quite some time yet’ – but not all seemed impressed
Polls have suggested the Tories are on track to lose all their MPs in Scotland at the next general election
Telling SNP members in Aberdeen they were the ‘independence generation’, Ms Sturgeon said that breaking away from the UK was ‘essential’ – adding this was the case ‘probably more than at any time in my life’.
‘It is essential to escape Westminster control and mismanagement,’ she said.
‘Essential to get the governments we vote for. To properly protect our NHS.
‘To build a new partnership of equals with the other nations on these islands.
‘It is essential if we want to be back in the European Union.
‘And it is essential if we want the people who live here to determine the future of this extraordinary country.’
One of the loudest cheers during Ms Sturgeon’s speech came when she stated her intent to remain as First Minister for ‘quite some time yet’, as she sought to dispel suggestions she is planning an exit from frontline politics.
After a new YouGov poll published last week revealed Labour benefiting from a collapse in Tory support in Scotland, Ms Sturgeon today launched an attack on Sir Keir’s party.
Analysis of the survey by one polling expert showed Labour could win six more seats in Scotland at a general election, while the Tories stand to lose all six of their Scottish MPs.
But Ms Sturgeon claimed Labour were also ‘letting down Scotland’.
‘Labour is now just as committed to Brexit – a hard Brexit – as the Tories,’ she added.
At least the Tories believe in it. Labour doesn’t. Yet, rather than make the principled argument – which they could now win in England – they cower away from it.
‘They abandon all principle for fear of upsetting the apple cart.
‘Bluntly – they are willing to chuck Scotland under Boris Johnson’s Brexit bus to get the keys to Downing Street.’