Nicola Sturgeon The Andrew Marr Show


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Nicola Sturgeon

Recorded coverage of Andrew Marr interviewing Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon, from Sunday 14 May.


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Scotland's First Minister and leader of the Scottish Nationalists made it

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absolutely clear at the start of the campaign for cheap product was all

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about, independence was a part of the election and she is with me now.

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Nicola Sturgeon, and that independent Scotland will children

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be better able to read and write than they are now. Regardless of

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whether or not Scotland becomes independent, in Scotland right now

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we are focusing on improving education standards. Look at the

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education system, we've expanded early years education, have a new

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school curriculum in place praised by the OECD, record numbers of young

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people leaving school with higher passes and advanced higher passes

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and going into further education on training or employment. We

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identified a particular issue with literacy and numerous and we are

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determined to accelerate the progress into using the attainment

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gap, we have a massive programme of reform under way to do that. On

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literacy, your record is terrible, your own government figures show

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among 13 and 14-year-olds, less than half are not performing well in

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reading and writing, that's gone down from 70% in a few years under

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the SNP. I've been very open that's not good enough but to put it into

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context, we have a survey that measures pupils in the second year

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of secondary school but measures than against the standards they are

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expected to achieve in the third year of secondary school and we have

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other information that shows by the time young people are in the third

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year more than 80% are reaching the required level but we have a new

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curriculum in place, the curriculum for excellence praised by the OECD

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but they've made recommendations to us about how we improve teaching of

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literacy and numerous. Right now we have the national improvement

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framework, attainment challenge and an attainment fund putting in extra

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resources to education. Frameworks and challenges and funds, do you

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know what is going wrong? We've had advised the new curriculum for

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excellence which I'm sure you're familiar with is about educating

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young people to be good citizens, do not just absorb facts and figures...

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I'm coming to accept the point, to encourage young people not just to

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absorb facts and figures but analyse it and make sense of the world they

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live in. It's the right thing to do but we have had advice we need to

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have or are they focus within the curriculum on literacy and numerous

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and that's what we are doing. We've introduced benchmarks for the

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teaching of literacy and numerous, I'm interested... Benchmarks and all

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the rest of it but under the SNP things have got worse and quite

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dramatically. I would challenge that in terms of the general performance

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of education, I look at it... On literacy, personal question. I'm not

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denying that in terms of literacy and numerous and telling you for

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doing to address it and use a frameworks and benchmarks, I look at

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the debate in England about falling budgets in schools, we've taken a

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decision to increase the budget schools have I100 and ?20 million,

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money going directly to headteachers giving them the ability to invest in

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measures they think will improve literacy and numerous it. You are

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700 teachers short. Teacher recruitment is a challenge not just

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in Scotland but in many countries and we are increasing teacher

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intake, the DTC in Scotland is thinking of different ways to bring

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different people into teaching, trying to encourage retired teachers

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to come back into teaching and I've been frank about that. Would you pay

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them more? We have negotiations with teaching unions about pay and

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conditions of teachers, that's one of the issues we've always got to

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keep in mind. But we need to be both frank about the challenges we have

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an education, some of them not unique to Scotland but we have to

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recognise the fundamentals of Scottish education in many respects

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are very strong and I repeat, we have record numbers of young people

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coming out of schools with higher and advanced higher passes and going

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into what we call positive destinations. I'm focused on

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improving these areas we need to improve also making sure we don't do

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a disservice to teachers and pupils across the country is seen

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everything about Scottish education is bad because emphatically it's

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not. Let's return to what you said in the independence blueprint in

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23rd team about the OECD rankings, you said Scottish pupils are

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performed the OECD average in reading and science, the latest

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results show we have halted a period of relative international decline

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since 2000, can you tell me what happened? We've seen that situation

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not as good as we wanted to be, Andrew, are not going to sit here

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and deny that, we have a study and SS L M, a study the latest version

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of which was published last week come it's a Sample survey and it

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looks quite small numbers of pupils, one of the things we've done is

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introduced the national improvement framework... Didn't challenge the

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rankings when they are going well, you can hardly challenge them when

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they are going badly. I didn't challenge them. I said this many

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times before, I know how important a good education has been to me in my

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life and I want every young person in Scotland to have the best

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education and the vast majority of young people in Scotland get the

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best of education but there are areas we need to do better and I'm

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not shying away from that. Under the SNP something serious is gone wrong,

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Scotland used to be one of the best educated countries in the world. In

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many respects it still is. You have the power to change this and things

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are going badly. On that is the numerous things are going badly but

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in many other measures of Scottish education is not true, we are not

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going backwards. Literacy and numerous ER important. You are

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trying to conduct this interview on the basis I'm being defensive, I'm

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not, I absolutely readily accept the areas we need to do better, that's

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why we've put effort into the initiatives and reforms we are

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taking forward and the point I was going to make earlier which I didn't

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get the chance to finish is that we are actually introducing more

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transparency so I can be held more accountable so instead of Sample

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surveys like the ones we have we will have information on every pupil

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in Scotland at the required levels, broken down, not just by local

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authority but school by school, there'll be no hiding place any

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politician. You said not so long ago you want to be judged by this Andrew

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Nick Wood be on the line. You were looking a little like Mary Queen of

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Scots. I don't wish to be Mary Queen of Scots, I've been First Minister

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for two and a half years and I said when I became First Minister that

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this would be the defining priority of how many years I am First

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Minister and I hope that so why the time we are at the next Scottish

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election I want to see improvement and we are talking about literacy

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and numerous, the other big challenge rehab in Scotland which is

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not unique to Scotland is to close the attainment gap between the

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richest and young people and we are very focused on that. On some

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measures, we don't measure it in exactly the same way, you and I have

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had the discussion about University entrance before and the measurements

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are different in Scotland and England but I'm not sitting here

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wanting to make comparisons, I want Scotland to be the best on its own

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terms. Let's move another aspect of domestic policy, is a discount

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versus have to use the bags because of poor pay? Yes. That's happening

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in Scotland according to the RCN spokesperson, it's happening in

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Scotland and you have the power of the Scottish Parliament to set

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public sector pay you can raise taxes and pay Scottish nurses

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properly. We have work to tackle, I am going to set out what happens

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with nursing pay and it's the same in the rest of the UK, we have the

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independent pay review body and makes recommendations, the Scottish

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Government on like the Westminster government has accepted those

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recommendations, we have had a period of pay restraint in the

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public sector because of the determination to detect... They've

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lost 14% in terms over the past period and you can correct this. We

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will continue to work through the pay review body to make sure nurses

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get the pay they deserve, I except... Your post higher pay for

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nurses. We didn't... The Royal College of Nursing is talking about

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strike action. Let me set this up, we work through the pay review body,

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we've agreed with the unions we will commission research but there is

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another important point, because of the action we took in Scotland on

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low pay and because of the commit and we gave nurses would always get

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the entitlement to progression, a newly qualified nurse in Scotland is

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paid ?300 more than a newly qualified nurse in England, somebody

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at the bottom level of the agenda for change of smaller than that, we

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protect the nurse bursary and for not asking students to pay tuition

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fees so it's tough for nurses out there but we have done far more than

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any other government in the UK to try and protect the pay of nurses.

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You have said that independence is at the heart of this choice and you

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have talked a lot about material changes. You have watched the way

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that public opinion is going in Scotland. If the Conservatives move

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ahead and you fall back in this election, isn't that the material

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change? Let's see who wins the election in Scotland? Can I set out

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my position? This is important. For me it is a question of whether at

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the end of the Brexit process, Scotland get a choice about their

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future. The position of the Tories and UK wide, no matter how badly

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Brexit negotiations go, people have got to like it or lump it and I

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don't agree with that and people in Scotland should have another choice

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about their future. After we have left or before we have left? At the

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end of the process, when the terms of Brexit are clear and people can

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compare that with the terms and applications of independence. In

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this election, there is a more immediate priority and opportunity

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for Scotland and that is making sure our voice is heard in the Brexit

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negotiations. That is an important point. There is a lot of concern

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even among some people who voted to leave that we are heading down the

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road of a very extreme Brexit. The Scottish Government previously

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published proposals that would have accepted leaving the EU but

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protected our place in the single market, and the Prime Minister

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dismissed those proposals out of hand. She thought it was

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impractical. She didn't look at them seriously. This election gives the

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Scottish people the chance to give democratic legitimacy to those

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proposals. Whether you voted leave remain, whether you will yes or no

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in 2014, if you vote SNP, you are strengthening my hand to make sure

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Scotland's voices heard in these negotiations and we don't sacrifice

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jobs and our economy and we can arrest the case with Scotland's

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place in the single market. A lot of SNP voters voted to leave the EU.

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You have said in a past that Scotland must be a full member of

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the EU after independence and it has been suggested by some people that

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EFTA would be all right. Our position continues to be that we

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want Scotland to be a full member of the European Union. We don't want to

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go into the Euro and no member of the EU can be forced into the Euro

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and Sweden is one example of that. What we did at the end of last year

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would recognise... The majority of Scotland voted remain and some voted

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leave and Scotland voted differently to England, though we try to see if

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there was compromise ground and we put forward proposals that would

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have accepted that we were leaving the EU as part of UK that try to

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protect single market. And I ask you, yes or no, with independent

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Scottish membership EFTA be unacceptable, mice in these

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circumstances, yes or no? My position is that I want Scotland to

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be in the EU. If we have an independence referendum, we would

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set out the process of regaining or retaining EU membership depending

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where we are in the Brexit process. It might be that we have a phased

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approach to that by necessity. EFTA first? By necessity. We have got to

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stipulate that at the time because there are still many uncertainties

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behind the Brexit process. In this election, if we want to have a

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chance of protecting our place in the single market, on which 80,000

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Scottish jobs depend, vote SNP to strengthen our hand. You got that

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line out at the end. Thank you for joining us in the studio in London.

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