07/04/2017: First Minister's Questions Politics Scotland


07/04/2017: First Minister's Questions

Coverage of First Minister's Questions in the Scottish Parliament.


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election and was challenged to commit to the promise made in the

:05:00.:05:07.

manifesto and wouldn't do it. She was challenged to save the Tories

:05:08.:05:11.

would have a commitment to the triple lock on pensions in the

:05:12.:05:15.

manifesto and she wouldn't do that either. I think we should look very

:05:16.:05:19.

closely at the commitments the Tories make and also the commitments

:05:20.:05:23.

the Tories do not make at this election. Let me just say this is

:05:24.:05:34.

secondly, I support the work that DFID does around the world, helping

:05:35.:05:43.

many to get contraception, but I find it abhorrent that as DFID does

:05:44.:05:50.

things like that overseas, this government is forcing women to prove

:05:51.:05:54.

they have been raped before they get access to benefits for their

:05:55.:06:06.

children. So I will give... I will give Ruth Davidson a chance today -

:06:07.:06:19.

do not pass the buck, tells Scotland straight, do you support the rape

:06:20.:06:23.

clause in principle or do you, like me, think it is utterly abhorrent?

:06:24.:06:33.

Answer the question. Ruth Davidson. I will answer the question, if the

:06:34.:06:40.

First Minister doesn't like the two child tax policy, she can change it.

:06:41.:06:46.

But the truth is this First Minister is always happier, always happier

:06:47.:06:52.

complaining about the UK Government than she is about doing anything

:06:53.:06:57.

herself. The fact is that the way the SNP is readying itself to poor

:06:58.:07:05.

negativity on this country is shameful. She might not like it but

:07:06.:07:09.

Scotland is part of this United Kingdom, and if the First Minister

:07:10.:07:13.

really wants to set out her stall at this election, isn't practical

:07:14.:07:17.

vision of how she is governing Scotland the very least that we

:07:18.:07:21.

should all expect? Or given away education and the economy is going,

:07:22.:07:26.

is she just banking the fact Scots will buy it? Shame on Ruth Davidson.

:07:27.:07:36.

And shame on the Conservatives. We have just seen in this chamber the

:07:37.:07:42.

true colours of Ruth Davidson and the Conservatives. Given the

:07:43.:07:45.

opportunity to stand up clearly and join others in this chamber and say

:07:46.:07:51.

that the rape clause, a clause that forces a woman to prove she has been

:07:52.:07:56.

raped before claiming benefits for her children is morally and in

:07:57.:08:00.

principle wrong, Ruth Davidson refuses to do so. That is utterly

:08:01.:08:09.

shameful. And I think it brings into sharp focus, presiding officer, it

:08:10.:08:12.

brings into sharp focus the key issue at the heart of this general

:08:13.:08:16.

election. I ask people to think about this. The rape clause has been

:08:17.:08:22.

introduced by a Tory government at Westminster with a tiny majority. If

:08:23.:08:26.

that is what the Tory government can do with a tiny majority, let's just

:08:27.:08:31.

think of the damage a Tory government can do, and unfettered,

:08:32.:08:37.

out-of-control Tory government can do with it -- can do with a bigger

:08:38.:08:46.

majority. If the people want a strong opposition to a Tory

:08:47.:08:50.

government, they won't get it from Labour, they won't get it from the

:08:51.:08:54.

Lib Dems who still say they would support a Tory government, they will

:08:55.:08:59.

only get it from the SNP and Scotland needs protection from the

:09:00.:09:07.

Tories. Presiding officer, in the weeks ahead these benches will set

:09:08.:09:11.

out our vision of the United Kingdom which is a force for good in the

:09:12.:09:16.

world and we will stand up for Scotland's decision to stay in the

:09:17.:09:21.

United Kingdom. We will say no to a second referendum so that Scotland

:09:22.:09:25.

can get on with building better schools and better public services.

:09:26.:09:32.

But what about the SNP's plans? The First Minister's first intervention

:09:33.:09:35.

in this election is to say she would put Jeremy Corbyn in number ten. Is

:09:36.:09:43.

it because uniquely the First Minister sees in Mr Corbyn the

:09:44.:09:45.

wisdom and foresight and leadership skills that are needed in a Prime

:09:46.:09:51.

Minister? Or could it be because in his own words Jeremy Corbyn is

:09:52.:09:55.

absolutely fine with another referendum on independence? Is that

:09:56.:09:59.

the alliance she was really seeking down in London? This is pretty tired

:10:00.:10:08.

stuff from the Tories. You only have to take one look at the polls to

:10:09.:10:13.

know that Jeremy Corbyn ain't going anywhere near number ten. That

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brings us back to the core issue, presiding Officer, because of the on

:10:19.:10:23.

electability of Labour. Scotland faces the prospect of an unfettered

:10:24.:10:29.

out-of-control Tory government and we know the damage that can do to

:10:30.:10:34.

Scotland, to our budget, to the vulnerable, to the pensions, to our

:10:35.:10:40.

economy, so that's the choice for Scotland. Vote SNP to make sure

:10:41.:10:44.

Scotland's voice is heard and Scotland has protection against the

:10:45.:10:48.

Tories because the problem for Ruth Davidson, as she has so clearly set

:10:49.:10:54.

out today, Scotland knows the Tory vision for Scotland, the rape

:10:55.:11:00.

clause, penalising the government, taking motor ability vehicles away

:11:01.:11:08.

from disabled people. People across Scotland no provision and the

:11:09.:11:11.

programme of the Tories and that's why people in Scotland know that if

:11:12.:11:15.

they want protection against that Tory vision, they must vote SNP.

:11:16.:11:31.

Kezia Dugdale. To ask the First Minister what engagements she has

:11:32.:11:35.

planned for the rest of the week. In recent weeks the First Minister has

:11:36.:11:40.

joined me in calling out the horrific rape clause, has accused

:11:41.:11:46.

Theresa May of undermining devolution. She has just told us

:11:47.:11:52.

that we have seen what damage a Tory government can do. So why did the

:11:53.:11:57.

SNP abstain yesterday instead of voting with Labour to get rid of

:11:58.:12:04.

this Tory government? I hate to be the one that has to point it out,

:12:05.:12:10.

Kezia Dugdale. It wasn't the SNP that voted with the Tories yesterday

:12:11.:12:16.

in the House of Commons, it was Labour who trooped through the

:12:17.:12:20.

lobbies with the Tories yesterday. You know the lobby I mean, it's that

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one that had turkeys in Christmas written above it. The idea in this

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election that Labour is going to replace the Tories is frankly tie in

:12:34.:12:40.

the sky. The issue and the threat at this election is that due to

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Labour's unelectability, we face an unfettered, out-of-control Tory

:12:48.:12:51.

government. We know the Prime Minister wants to silence opposition

:12:52.:12:55.

so the question for Scotland is, if you want a strong opposition to the

:12:56.:13:00.

Tories, if you want MPs who will be a voice for Scotland, the only party

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to support at this election is the SNP.

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Labour MPs voted yesterday to get rid of this miserable Tory

:13:13.:13:24.

government. And imagine my surprise that the SNP MPs did not do the

:13:25.:13:31.

same. The First Minister has said that she want an honest debate, so

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let's have it. It suits the SNP for the Tories to stay in power. That is

:13:39.:13:43.

why they refused to vote Theresa May out of office yesterday. Everyday

:13:44.:13:51.

Tories remain in power, 430,000 Scots go without a real living wage.

:13:52.:13:57.

Women do without the pension they have worked their whole lives for.

:13:58.:14:00.

Young people have their housing benefit stripped away from them. It

:14:01.:14:05.

suits the SNP for the Tories to stay in power. The only thing the SNP

:14:06.:14:11.

have ever cared about its independence. So, tell us First

:14:12.:14:16.

Minister, on the 8th of June, what is more important? Kicking the

:14:17.:14:19.

Tories out of office or having another divisive referendum?

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Presiding officer, Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable and will leave Labour

:14:28.:14:32.

carping from the sidelines. How do we know that? Because that is what

:14:33.:14:36.

Casilla Dugdale said about Jeremy Corbyn. I agree with her about how

:14:37.:14:48.

awful and how damaging this Tory government is. That is why I think

:14:49.:14:52.

it is so utterly shameful and disgraceful that Labour have allowed

:14:53.:14:56.

themselves to get in the position that this lot are 20 points ahead of

:14:57.:15:01.

them in opinion bowls UK wide and are even ahead of them in Scotland

:15:02.:15:06.

as well. That is Labour's failure and it is an utter disgrace. It

:15:07.:15:12.

brings us back to the core point at stake in this election. The only

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thing in this election standing between an out of control,

:15:17.:15:19.

unfettered Tory government and Scotland is the SNP. If people want

:15:20.:15:25.

to make sure that the Tory government can be held to account,

:15:26.:15:28.

if they want to make sure there is a strong voice for Scotland and if

:15:29.:15:31.

they want to make sure Scotland is protected against the kind of

:15:32.:15:35.

policies that Casilla Dugdale talks about, they have to make sure they

:15:36.:15:44.

sent SNP MPs back to Westminster. It was the First Minister in 2015 who

:15:45.:15:50.

told Scotland food SNP to keep the Tories out. How is that going? Can I

:15:51.:15:59.

say to her, in all seriousness if Jeremy Corbyn was Prime Minister,

:16:00.:16:07.

there would be no great cause, that would be no more housing benefit

:16:08.:16:10.

cuts and there would be no more austerity and I will proudly

:16:11.:16:14.

campaign for that over the next six weeks as she campaigns for

:16:15.:16:20.

independence. Can I say, the last time we voted in a general election,

:16:21.:16:24.

Nicola Sturgeon said this, I have made it very clear that if you vote

:16:25.:16:30.

SNP in this election, that is not a vote for independence, nor is it a

:16:31.:16:34.

vote for another referendum. Time and time again we were told that a

:16:35.:16:39.

vote for the SNP is not a vote for another referendum. With the First

:16:40.:16:43.

Minister have the decency to tell the voters before the food that she

:16:44.:16:47.

will use this election as another excuse for a divisive referendum

:16:48.:16:50.

were once again when she went on to the day after? Demanded for another

:16:51.:16:58.

referendum was sought and won at the Scottish Parliament elections last

:16:59.:17:06.

year. This election is about who will stand up for Scotland against

:17:07.:17:11.

the Tories. It is about who will stop the Tories silencing and

:17:12.:17:17.

crushing the opposition. She has got the nerve to stand up and somehow

:17:18.:17:21.

blame the SNP for the fact that the Tories didn't lose the election

:17:22.:17:27.

in... I am almost speechless. But the SNP is to blame for the fact the

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Tories won the election in 2015. It was Labour's fault. If Labour had

:17:33.:17:36.

won every seat in Scotland they would still have lost to the Tories

:17:37.:17:42.

across the UK. Labour or unelectable and utterly useless. That is the

:17:43.:17:47.

tragedy of UK politics right now. It brings us back to the central point.

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The only thing in this election, and I would ask every voter out there to

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think about this seriously, the Tories want everyone to think there

:17:58.:18:01.

is a safe tactical Tory vote they can cast in this election, but every

:18:02.:18:06.

single Tory vote cast in Scotland will help Theresa May made sure that

:18:07.:18:12.

she has the ability to do what ever she wants. If you do not want an

:18:13.:18:17.

out-of-control Tory government, if you want protection, if you want a

:18:18.:18:21.

strong opposition and a strong voice against the Tories then you have to

:18:22.:18:32.

make sure you vote SNP in Scotland. To ask the First Minister what

:18:33.:18:36.

issues will be discussed at the next meeting of the Cabinet. Issues of

:18:37.:18:40.

importance to the people of Scotland. The SNP deputy leader

:18:41.:18:46.

struggled to explain his party's Europe policy on the radio

:18:47.:18:51.

yesterday. Five times he was asked what policy would be in the

:18:52.:18:54.

manifesto for the general election. Five times asked, five times he was

:18:55.:19:00.

not able to answer. He became so desperate he even asked all the

:19:01.:19:03.

listeners to write in with suggestions. It was answers on a

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postcard. The First Minister has a chance to influence this. Does she

:19:11.:19:13.

wandered through membership of the European Union in the SNP manifesto?

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The policy of the SNP on Europe is absolutely clear. We want Scotland

:19:22.:19:26.

to remain members of the European Union. I don't think there is

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anybody who could have missed that over the past few months. It is

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interesting, because Willie Rennie somehow tries to criticise me when I

:19:37.:19:39.

have said and what Scotland and the UK to remain in the EU, but I think

:19:40.:19:44.

what is really important is that we prioritise membership of the single

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market. It is interesting that he criticises me for that because it is

:19:50.:19:52.

what Tim Farren, his own leader says. He wants the UK to stay in the

:19:53.:19:57.

single market, the priority is staying in the single market. There

:19:58.:20:01.

is no doubt about my policy. I want to remain in the EU. The dove is

:20:02.:20:10.

what on earth the EU -- S -- Liberal Democrat policy is. Why can't she

:20:11.:20:16.

said it will be in the manifesto then? She is dodging, just like

:20:17.:20:22.

Angus yesterday. The Liberal Democrats are crystal clear. We want

:20:23.:20:26.

Scotland in the heart of the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom in

:20:27.:20:29.

the heart of Europe. The general election is a chance to change the

:20:30.:20:36.

course of the whole of the United Kingdom. The more liberal Democrat

:20:37.:20:41.

MPs elected, the greater chance we have of changing the direction of

:20:42.:20:45.

the country. Just like the moment she joined the SNP all those years

:20:46.:20:52.

ago, the First Minister has only ever cared about independence. We

:20:53.:20:56.

know what she and her government property. She is trying to get

:20:57.:21:02.

Brexit supporters back on side so she is going soft on Europe. It is

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fair to ask if EU membership will be in the manifesto. So, what is the

:21:09.:21:17.

answer? Is she going to tell us? Let me try it in simple words. I support

:21:18.:21:23.

membership of the European Union. Surely even Willie Rennie can

:21:24.:21:32.

understand that. There was another politician dodging questions

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yesterday, wasn't there? I saw Tim Farren challenged in the House of

:21:40.:21:44.

Commons by Stewart McDonald, one of my excellent colleagues in

:21:45.:21:48.

Westminster and Tim Farren was challenging, was challenged, to rule

:21:49.:21:55.

out supporting a Tory government and he refused to do so. There we have

:21:56.:22:02.

it, presiding officer. Labour is unelectable. The Liberal Democrat

:22:03.:22:06.

propped the Tories up for five years and will not rule out doing it

:22:07.:22:12.

again. If you want to have Scottish interests heard against the Tories,

:22:13.:22:15.

if you want Scotland protected against the Tories come if you want

:22:16.:22:18.

a party who stand up against the Tories then there is only one party

:22:19.:22:27.

who will do SNP. -- do that. The SNP. How is the Scottish Government

:22:28.:22:37.

standing up for human rights in the face of Tory attempt to scrap the

:22:38.:22:43.

Human Rights Act? We will oppose vigorously any attempt to scrap the

:22:44.:22:46.

Human Rights Act and we know if the Tories get their way that is what

:22:47.:22:49.

they want to do, which makes it all the more ironic that with Davidson

:22:50.:22:54.

is talking about work overseas, one of the worst thing is the Tories

:22:55.:22:59.

could do and the message we could send internationally is to row back

:23:00.:23:02.

on the human rights and we will always oppose that and stand up for

:23:03.:23:08.

human rights. Will the First Minister confirm that airport

:23:09.:23:11.

expansion, new flight route and the scrapping of air passenger duty are

:23:12.:23:15.

all government policy? Does she agree with me that it is hypocrisy

:23:16.:23:21.

for MSP is, MPs and government ministers to pretender to their

:23:22.:23:24.

constituents that they oppose these policies when all the while they

:23:25.:23:29.

compliantly folded through in Cabinet? I want Scotland to have the

:23:30.:23:36.

best connections with the rest of the world because that is good for

:23:37.:23:41.

people in Scotland, it is also good for our businesses seeking to expand

:23:42.:23:45.

and exported overseas. I make no apology for what they are aviation

:23:46.:23:49.

connections, as well as our other transport connections to be as good

:23:50.:23:54.

as they possibly can be. I am clear about our responsibilities to tackle

:23:55.:23:56.

climate change and this government and parliament should be proud for

:23:57.:23:59.

the world leading action it is taking to tackle climate change. To

:24:00.:24:09.

ask the First Minister whether she will provide an update on her visit

:24:10.:24:15.

to the United States? Yes. I visited the United States between the second

:24:16.:24:20.

and 7th of April, attending events and meetings in California and New

:24:21.:24:33.

York. I was promoting Scottish innovation, entrepreneurship and

:24:34.:24:35.

culture. The relationship between Scotland and America is an important

:24:36.:24:41.

point with a deep ties reflected by the strong economic and personal

:24:42.:24:43.

links of our citizens. This visit was an important opportunity to

:24:44.:24:48.

ensure businesses and visitors from the US that Scotland is an outward

:24:49.:24:51.

looking, welcoming country remains very open for business. I think the

:24:52.:24:58.

First Minister for that answer. I was particularly pleased to see

:24:59.:25:02.

climate action high on the agenda with the First Minister signing a

:25:03.:25:05.

conflicted with the governor of California. In the Highlands and

:25:06.:25:10.

Islands, renewables are transforming communities, creating a climate and

:25:11.:25:15.

help us meet our targets. When the Tories at Westminster trash

:25:16.:25:18.

subsidies for green energy, how can we continue to meet our global

:25:19.:25:21.

obligations to tackling climate change in partnership with allies

:25:22.:25:27.

around the world? It is important to stress that Scotland is making huge

:25:28.:25:30.

progress in delivering our climate change emissions but we still have

:25:31.:25:35.

much to achieve the stuff I did meet with the governor of California in

:25:36.:25:40.

the years to discuss how our two administrations could work together

:25:41.:25:44.

to achieve our shared ambition of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

:25:45.:25:48.

We have pledged to cut emissions by 20% 2015 and we have discussed the

:25:49.:25:53.

importance of offshore wind in tackling climate change and agreed

:25:54.:25:55.

to share knowledge and best practice in developing this technology. We

:25:56.:26:01.

have also offered to help the under two coalition representing 2 billion

:26:02.:26:05.

people to prepare for a summit in 2018 in the Chris Grayling national

:26:06.:26:09.

governments to increase efforts to tackle climate change. There is no

:26:10.:26:13.

doubt that many of the policies of this current UK Government fly in

:26:14.:26:16.

the face of our efforts to tackle climate change. One of the other

:26:17.:26:22.

reasons it is so important we have voices in Westminster are looking

:26:23.:26:24.

for the policies that will support us, not hinder us in meeting these

:26:25.:26:31.

ambitions. I was amused to see the First Minister under a banner

:26:32.:26:34.

describing herself as the Queen of Scots. It is not quite how I here

:26:35.:26:40.

described nearer to home. The Speaker of the United States, Paul

:26:41.:26:43.

Ryan, is currently in London and has made clear the United States

:26:44.:26:47.

government wishes to come to an expedited trade arrangement with the

:26:48.:26:50.

United Kingdom when we leave the European Union. Can I ask the First

:26:51.:26:54.

Minister when she was in the United States, what formal discussions with

:26:55.:26:58.

the government of the United States but future trade relationships and

:26:59.:27:01.

what assurances she given to them that the Scottish Government would

:27:02.:27:03.

do everything they could to ensure the early trading is arrived at? I

:27:04.:27:08.

am glad Jackson Carlo watched the women in the world Summit that he

:27:09.:27:14.

mentions, because I hope he also heard during that some of horror

:27:15.:27:20.

from the audience, the very large audience that were there listening,

:27:21.:27:23.

when I outlined the real cause policy that had come into effect. He

:27:24.:27:31.

says I misrepresented it. Let me set out very clear for the chamber. The

:27:32.:27:36.

rear doors policy puts an obligation on a woman to prove that she has

:27:37.:27:40.

been raped if she wanted to claim tax credits for more than two

:27:41.:27:46.

children. If Jackson Carlo thinks that is a misrepresentation by

:27:47.:27:48.

infighting to come to this chamber and tell us exactly what the root

:27:49.:27:53.

cause policy den entails and to do it as Ruth Davison failed to do and

:27:54.:27:56.

have the courage to say it is morally reprehensible to have such a

:27:57.:28:04.

policy on the statute book. On the issue, I met with a number of

:28:05.:28:08.

businesses and other economic interests in the United States. I

:28:09.:28:11.

did not have meetings with the US government, this was a trade and

:28:12.:28:15.

investment focused desert. In every conversation I had the message was

:28:16.:28:20.

clear that Scotland remains open for business and it is all the more

:28:21.:28:24.

important, given the practical sessions of the Tories, that we get

:28:25.:28:27.

that message out to the United States and every country across the

:28:28.:28:36.

world. To ask the First Minister what the Scottish Government

:28:37.:28:41.

response is to the reports of... Found in school buildings. The

:28:42.:28:47.

health and safety of students in schools is of paramount importance.

:28:48.:28:50.

Following the publication of the independent enquiry into Edinburgh

:28:51.:28:54.

school construction Minister for local government wrote to all local

:28:55.:28:57.

authorities had it in the issues and recommendations the report raised us

:28:58.:29:02.

of the importance of adhering to building regulations, technical

:29:03.:29:04.

standards and the inspection processes which are in place to

:29:05.:29:09.

protect the public. The minister wrote to and let the leaders in the

:29:10.:29:12.

construction industry to ensure the construction industry to ensure they

:29:13.:29:14.

are aware of the findings and recommendations in the report and

:29:15.:29:16.

ensure we can rely on quality workmanship and control processes. I

:29:17.:29:21.

think the First Minister for that answer. I accept it is local

:29:22.:29:27.

authorities who have the statutory responsibility for school buildings.

:29:28.:29:30.

The Scottish Government surely feel has a duty to ensure that those

:29:31.:29:34.

responsibilities are deployed following the publication of the

:29:35.:29:37.

Edinburgh schools report. That is indeed what I red this safety issues

:29:38.:29:42.

regarding with campus with the First Minister on the 26th of January this

:29:43.:29:46.

year which she chose the sideline. Can the First Minister about explain

:29:47.:29:51.

why it has taken problems in 72 schools across Scotland for the

:29:52.:29:55.

Scottish Government to take this matter seriously? Will she now

:29:56.:29:58.

provide unequivocal guarantee that all work is being done with local

:29:59.:30:03.

authorities to ensure that all buildings, school buildings, are

:30:04.:30:08.

safe across Scotland? A number of points. I know later on Logan

:30:09.:30:15.

Tomkins is going to ask a question challenging me to leave

:30:16.:30:19.

responsibilities that are not those of the Scottish Government

:30:20.:30:21.

specifically to local authorities and not interfere in local authority

:30:22.:30:26.

responsibilities. There is a bit of a constituency issue. I accept the

:30:27.:30:29.

Scottish Government has responsibilities, that is what I set

:30:30.:30:32.

out the action the Scottish Government has taken and I would say

:30:33.:30:37.

could remember, we did that with the independent report. We want to local

:30:38.:30:41.

authorities in the way I described shortly after the school situation

:30:42.:30:45.

arose last year. We acted promptly as the public would have expected us

:30:46.:30:49.

to do. It is also important to note that none of the schools requiring

:30:50.:30:55.

remedial work was built under our schools programme. These are

:30:56.:30:58.

historic school building projects, but nevertheless, here we have got

:30:59.:31:01.

to make sure that all school buildings are safe and that lessons

:31:02.:31:04.

from previous PFI programmes are properly learned and implemented in

:31:05.:31:09.

the future and the government is absolutely determined that we will

:31:10.:31:11.

discharge our responsibility to do so. Of course, these clues in

:31:12.:31:18.

question were built by Labour and the Liberal Democrats under PFI. The

:31:19.:31:23.

First Minister will know that perish the Lieberman Council, schools with

:31:24.:31:31.

the construction cost of 81 million. 401 million will have to be paid in

:31:32.:31:35.

charges to the companies who built them, including 2.7 million this

:31:36.:31:40.

year. That is the equivalent of buying and ?81,000 flat, and a

:31:41.:31:44.

mortgage for 30 years and then not even going to get at the end of the

:31:45.:31:48.

30 years. Does the First Minister agreed that the reckless handling of

:31:49.:31:51.

the public finances were never in office continues to rob us of funds

:31:52.:31:57.

which could be used to predict would building on Google services and it

:31:58.:31:59.

is high time they've apologised for the legacy of incontinence. The left

:32:00.:32:04.

for schools and local authorities across Scotland. Yes, yes I do. When

:32:05.:32:14.

I think it is fair to point out that the enquiry said the financing

:32:15.:32:18.

method was not in itself responsible for defective construction, it does

:32:19.:32:23.

state that the implementation of the contract for the partners involved

:32:24.:32:26.

could have been stronger. Questions must be asked and in due course

:32:27.:32:33.

answered about all PFI contract that many at the time period put profits

:32:34.:32:38.

before quality. The cost of the disastrous Labour PFI deals are

:32:39.:32:44.

still taking significant sums of money away from vital public

:32:45.:32:47.

services. This government is determined to secure maximum value

:32:48.:32:54.

for money in existing PFI contracts. The Scottish futures trust work on

:32:55.:32:56.

behalf of ministers and have done so for some time with public bodies to

:32:57.:33:01.

identify the scope to improve the efficiency and performance of these

:33:02.:33:05.

contracts and this work will continue. I do think this whole

:33:06.:33:13.

episode raises serious questions for previous Labour administrations and

:33:14.:33:15.

perhaps one day they will have to answer and apologise. This is an

:33:16.:33:22.

issue which has had a distinct impact on my constituency. One year

:33:23.:33:28.

ago Saint Peter 's premises had to send its pupils elsewhere. The body

:33:29.:33:31.

has good had to close. Dozens of families had to send their children

:33:32.:33:36.

to other schools. The underlying issue was the failure of contractors

:33:37.:33:42.

to install it was properly. A failure that was not picked up by

:33:43.:33:45.

building control and indeed we now learn that there are scores of

:33:46.:33:48.

school buildings across Scotland which similarly have structural

:33:49.:33:53.

faults, begin which would feel it to be picked up by building control.

:33:54.:33:58.

Clearly there are issues about the science of procedure, he went

:33:59.:34:01.

building control box and the safety checks. Can the First Minister tell

:34:02.:34:05.

Parliament what changes and reviews will the middle of the building

:34:06.:34:09.

control processing machine? That is a very fair question. I want to

:34:10.:34:17.

respond to two aspects. Firstly, to recognise the disruption this caused

:34:18.:34:22.

for pupils across Edinburgh last year. The independent report does

:34:23.:34:28.

say the educational impact on children is likely to have been

:34:29.:34:32.

limited, but I don't think that takes away from the disruption and

:34:33.:34:37.

the concern pupils and parents had last year, especially for older

:34:38.:34:40.

pupils who would have needed exams. I think everybody deeply regrets

:34:41.:34:45.

that. Secondly the issue about scrutiny of work and building

:34:46.:34:49.

control processes is also one calf to reflect very carefully on. We

:34:50.:34:53.

have got to make sure there is an appropriate level of independent

:34:54.:34:56.

scrutiny of building work. The government is reviewing all existing

:34:57.:35:01.

guidance on appropriate supervision and contract management so we can be

:35:02.:35:05.

assured that best practice is available as a matter of course

:35:06.:35:11.

construction projects. These are schools that were not under our

:35:12.:35:14.

government, but that does not change the fact that as the incumbent

:35:15.:35:18.

government now we have the nature of the regular lessons are learned and

:35:19.:35:21.

those lessons are applied in future and we are determined that we will

:35:22.:35:27.

do that. To ask the First Minister what the Scottish Government

:35:28.:35:31.

response is to reports of sexually exploitative behaviour in the

:35:32.:35:37.

private rented housing sector? I was extremely concerned, horrified

:35:38.:35:40.

actually, to red the reports the number refers to the Minister for

:35:41.:35:44.

Housing has already written to the website concerned that hosted these

:35:45.:35:49.

adverts asking them to take action. As a government was already taking

:35:50.:35:52.

action to tackle issues like this to the implementation of equally safe,

:35:53.:35:57.

our strategy to tackle any violence against women and girls and we are

:35:58.:36:02.

also taking action to prove the availability of housing for everyone

:36:03.:36:06.

and action to tackle poverty and inequality which can so often the

:36:07.:36:10.

people vulnerable to being exploited in this kind of way. Any person

:36:11.:36:15.

always has the right to refuse to consent to sexual activity and

:36:16.:36:19.

forcing someone in any way to participate in sexual activity is a

:36:20.:36:23.

crime. We continue to keep those laws under review the nature of they

:36:24.:36:26.

are fit for purpose in tackling what I think are unacceptable behaviours.

:36:27.:36:32.

I think the First Minister for response. We know these sacks for

:36:33.:36:36.

rent adverts have been posted on line for properties in Scotland but

:36:37.:36:41.

we have no way of how many tenants are in these arrangements. As the

:36:42.:36:44.

First Minister says, the practice opens the door to fondle tenants who

:36:45.:36:47.

are facing homelessness and poverty and find themselves in exploitative

:36:48.:36:52.

arrangements. I welcome the report of the action taken by the Housing

:36:53.:36:57.

Minister, but can I ask what action the government will take to ensure

:36:58.:37:00.

that any landlords who are found to be offering such arrangements are

:37:01.:37:03.

properly dealt with? More specifically, what action is being

:37:04.:37:08.

taken to the equally safe project and also, have they had time to have

:37:09.:37:11.

discussions with groups supporting vulnerable women who are seeking

:37:12.:37:14.

accommodation, to raise awareness of these exploited of practices? We

:37:15.:37:21.

will look carefully at what action we can take further to what we are

:37:22.:37:24.

already doing across these areas. The Minister would be happy to meet

:37:25.:37:27.

ministers discuss this in more detail if that would be of interest.

:37:28.:37:32.

She raises the situation of landlords and where landlords are

:37:33.:37:36.

behaving unacceptably then clearly there are provisions to seek a deal

:37:37.:37:40.

with that. I suspect in cases like the one she is highlighting often

:37:41.:37:44.

the problem will be there is no formal tenancy agreement. These

:37:45.:37:47.

informal arrangements which doesn't make them any more acceptable, much

:37:48.:37:52.

less so in fact. Sometimes that would be one of the challenges.

:37:53.:37:55.

These are not formal arrangements with is a recognised landlord.

:37:56.:37:58.

Nevertheless, these are serious issues. There are wider issues

:37:59.:38:07.

involved around this kind of thing. I will undertake to ensure that the

:38:08.:38:08.

minister considers all suggestions made by the member and the offer of

:38:09.:38:16.

a meeting stands. I recognise the First Minister acknowledges that not

:38:17.:38:20.

all of these circumstances will involve the registered landlord, but

:38:21.:38:24.

in order to register and return to comply with the fit and proper

:38:25.:38:27.

person test. Isn't it clear that any such excluded arrangements should

:38:28.:38:30.

lead to an automatic feel of the fit and proper person test and

:38:31.:38:34.

verification of any existing landlord registration? I think my

:38:35.:38:41.

answer that would be yes. I struggle to see how anyone in this as an

:38:42.:38:44.

advocate of this description would pass the fit and proper person test.

:38:45.:38:49.

Jakati and other members will be aware that there is a proper

:38:50.:38:53.

statutory legal process that local authorities had to go through before

:38:54.:38:56.

they can take landlord status with somebody and I couldn't in any

:38:57.:39:01.

situation pre-empt that, but I think we all agreed about the

:39:02.:39:07.

acceptability of the examples brought to's attention. Just as I

:39:08.:39:10.

did with the previous member, I will undertake to discuss this with the

:39:11.:39:16.

Member two nature that it take ever action are able to take. To ask the

:39:17.:39:22.

First Minister what the position is of the Scottish Government on the

:39:23.:39:26.

view that local authorities should be responsible for all matters not

:39:27.:39:28.

specifically reserved to the Scottish Parliament which might be

:39:29.:39:32.

the Tories should practice what they preach but occasionally on these

:39:33.:39:36.

issues. Local authority responsibilities are very clearly

:39:37.:39:40.

set out and the focus of the Scottish Government is on

:39:41.:39:44.

encouraging councils to empower communities across the country,

:39:45.:39:48.

because it is important that we do not just consider what our local

:39:49.:39:52.

authorities should have, but also how local authorities can transfer

:39:53.:39:55.

more of their power to local communities. That is why our

:39:56.:39:58.

community empowerment act puts additional powers into the hands of

:39:59.:40:01.

communities and local authorities to account and we are discussing how to

:40:02.:40:07.

achieve our aim of having at least 1% of council budgets decided in

:40:08.:40:11.

this way, building on the work of over ?2 million community choices

:40:12.:40:12.

fund. He argued in our manifesto yesterday

:40:13.:40:26.

the council should focus on growing. Citizen are being given

:40:27.:40:32.

opportunities to do that from the northern powerhouse. Can you

:40:33.:40:35.

identify a single power that would allow the city is here to do the

:40:36.:40:41.

same? Local authorities have the power of general competence. There

:40:42.:40:43.

is nothing standing in the way of local authorities getting on with

:40:44.:40:47.

the job they should be doing and many are doing well in terms of

:40:48.:40:50.

growing their local economy. As members are aware, we have

:40:51.:40:56.

delivered, sometimes in partnership with the UK city deals, so were not

:40:57.:41:00.

only making sure there is devolved power in the hands of authorities

:41:01.:41:05.

but there is substantial initial investment to do the things that

:41:06.:41:08.

will support economic growth. We will continue to do that and I look

:41:09.:41:12.

forward to seeing many more city deals in the year ahead, not least

:41:13.:41:15.

the city of Edinburgh and the surrounding areas. I am a great

:41:16.:41:20.

believer in giving local authorities the powers and resources they need

:41:21.:41:24.

to do the job in local communities but I don't want to see Powers

:41:25.:41:30.

stopped at local authorities, real community empowerment is important

:41:31.:41:33.

which is why the community Parliament act is so important. I

:41:34.:41:39.

welcome the reform Scotland paper which contains a lot with which the

:41:40.:41:45.

Green party agrees. We believe local government should have a greater

:41:46.:41:48.

fiscal autonomously than it does do and some weeks ago we published

:41:49.:41:52.

proposals for the fiscal framework between Scottish Government and

:41:53.:41:55.

local government. Does the First Minister agree that as the Scottish

:41:56.:42:01.

Parliament gets more fiscal autonomy, so too should the

:42:02.:42:05.

relationships be mirrored with local government? I think there is merit

:42:06.:42:09.

in that and ahead of the Scottish elections last year we did indicate

:42:10.:42:14.

a to talk to local authorities about what additional tax powers would

:42:15.:42:19.

live better with them rather than the Scottish Government. Local

:42:20.:42:21.

authorities have already got autonomy in terms of the ability to

:42:22.:42:24.

lower business rates if they think that is one of the things that would

:42:25.:42:28.

help grow the economy so this is a discussion that the government is

:42:29.:42:33.

very willing to have and obviously we have local government elections

:42:34.:42:37.

in a couple of weeks' time and after those elections with new

:42:38.:42:40.

administrations, hopefully, in some parts of the country that is a

:42:41.:42:46.

discussion we can take forward with new administrations with councils

:42:47.:42:50.

the length and breadth of the country. Back in 2007 the First

:42:51.:42:56.

Minister said the council tax was unfair and no amount of the council

:42:57.:43:02.

tax could make it fair. Does she believe today that the council tax

:43:03.:43:08.

is still unfair or has the time coding and the bands made it fairer?

:43:09.:43:13.

Rebranding has made council tax fairer but I would say two things.

:43:14.:43:19.

During the first term of the SNP administration labour blocked the

:43:20.:43:23.

abolition of the council tax so it ill behoves them now to stand here

:43:24.:43:27.

and argue for it. But the second point I would make about this

:43:28.:43:36.

position underlines the hypocrisy. Labour punished the manufacture last

:43:37.:43:43.

week, and in page six it says this, the SNP council -- council tax

:43:44.:43:48.

freeze has crippled local government. As well as being

:43:49.:43:51.

complete nonsense, that statement is utter hypocrisy. And I'll tell you

:43:52.:43:58.

why it is hypocrisy. Right now in Scotland there are only eight

:43:59.:44:01.

council administration is proposing a continuation of the council tax

:44:02.:44:05.

freeze. Guess what, every single one of those is a labour lead counsel.

:44:06.:44:13.

There you have it. Labour might say one thing in the chamber about the

:44:14.:44:17.

council tax but across the country the administrations do the opposite.

:44:18.:44:23.

That concludes First Minister's Questions. There we have it.

:44:24.:44:29.

Elections, indeed but closing with a discussion about local elections and

:44:30.:44:34.

we will talk about other contests later. Let me chat to my colleagues.

:44:35.:44:40.

We can talk about the local elections first. Quite an effective

:44:41.:44:48.

attack by the First Minister on the business of the council tax in

:44:49.:44:53.

response to Alex Riley. It is a weakness because the SNP can always

:44:54.:44:57.

come back to saying the Labour Party opposed us when we tried to abolish

:44:58.:45:02.

the council tax so you can't ask any questions. There is the question of

:45:03.:45:06.

eight Labour councils deciding not to raise the council tax. It is easy

:45:07.:45:14.

for the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon to rebut the criticisms with that even

:45:15.:45:17.

though there are legitimate criticisms. Do these council

:45:18.:45:22.

elections have stops tonnes in their own right in terms of the way the

:45:23.:45:26.

party is treating them or are they proxies for the general election --

:45:27.:45:33.

proxies. What was interesting about the response was that the fault line

:45:34.:45:37.

for the council elections is very much the SNP against Labour. Labour

:45:38.:45:42.

are still hanging on to a number of authorities in western and central

:45:43.:45:43.

Scotland. The SNP have labour in their sights

:45:44.:45:58.

when they come to the council elections but the rhetoric for the

:45:59.:46:02.

big election say it is a two horse race between the SNP and

:46:03.:46:07.

conservatives. The SNP are putting their guns on Labour in one

:46:08.:46:09.

conservatives in the other and keeping them distinct. Let's remind

:46:10.:46:14.

ourselves what was going on in this remarkable week. We have council

:46:15.:46:18.

elections on the 4th of May but also the prospect of a general election

:46:19.:46:24.

on the June the 8th. Here is the key figures setting out their stall. I

:46:25.:46:29.

have just chaired a meeting of the Cabinet where we agree that the

:46:30.:46:31.

government should call a general election to be held on the 8th of

:46:32.:46:39.

June. I want to explain the reasons for that decision. Britain is

:46:40.:46:43.

leaving the European Union. And there can be no turning back. And as

:46:44.:46:51.

we look to the future, the government has the right plan for

:46:52.:46:54.

negotiating our new relationship with Europe. We want a deep and

:46:55.:47:01.

special partnership between a strong and successful European Union and

:47:02.:47:07.

the United Kingdom that is free to chart its own way in the world. That

:47:08.:47:13.

means we will regain control of our own money, our own laws and that own

:47:14.:47:18.

borders. And we will be free to strike trade deals with old friends

:47:19.:47:22.

and new partners all around the world. This is the right approach.

:47:23.:47:31.

And it is in the national interest. But the other political parties

:47:32.:47:37.

oppose it. At this moment of enormous national significance there

:47:38.:47:41.

should be unity here in Westminster but instead there is division the

:47:42.:47:47.

country is coming together, but Westminster is not. In recent weeks

:47:48.:47:54.

Labour have threatened to vote against the final agreement we reach

:47:55.:47:59.

with the European Union. The Liberal Democrats have said that they want

:48:00.:48:01.

to grind of government to a standstill. The Scottish National

:48:02.:48:08.

Party say they will vote against the legislation that formally repeals

:48:09.:48:12.

membership of the European Union. An unelected members of the House of

:48:13.:48:15.

Lords have vowed to fight us every step of the way. Our opponents

:48:16.:48:22.

believe because the government majority is so small that our

:48:23.:48:25.

resolve will weaken and they can force us to change course. They are

:48:26.:48:32.

wrong. They underestimate our determination to get the job done.

:48:33.:48:39.

And I am not prepared to let them endanger the security of millions of

:48:40.:48:43.

working people across the country because what they are doing

:48:44.:48:48.

jeopardises the work we must do to prepare for Brexit at home. And it

:48:49.:48:52.

weakens the government negotiating position in Europe. If we do not

:48:53.:48:59.

hold a general election now, their political gameplaying will continue.

:49:00.:49:03.

And the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most

:49:04.:49:08.

difficult stage in the run-up to the next scheduled election. Division in

:49:09.:49:14.

Westminster will risk the ability to make a success of Brexit and it will

:49:15.:49:19.

cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country, so we

:49:20.:49:24.

need a general election and we need one now. This is the biggest U-turn

:49:25.:49:30.

in recent political history but it's clear that the announcement from the

:49:31.:49:34.

Prime Minister is all about a narrow interests of our own party and not

:49:35.:49:38.

the interests of the country overall. She clearly sees the

:49:39.:49:41.

opportunity given the total disarray in the ranks of the Labour Party to

:49:42.:49:45.

cross opposition to her and get rid of people who disagree and give

:49:46.:49:51.

herself a free hand to take the country in an increasingly

:49:52.:49:54.

right-wing direction that she wants, and that would not mean just the

:49:55.:49:58.

hardest possible Brexit but more austerity. Now is the time for the

:49:59.:50:04.

Scottish voice to be heard and for Scottish people to stand up for the

:50:05.:50:08.

Scotland we want, and that is a campaign I look forward to leading

:50:09.:50:12.

in the weeks ahead. There we have had from the Prime Minister and

:50:13.:50:16.

First Minister. Today we have the parties challenging the First

:50:17.:50:19.

Minister and it was all about the general election from the leaders.

:50:20.:50:23.

Let's go through them one by one. Let's start with the exchanges with

:50:24.:50:28.

Ruth Davidson. She wanted to talk about age to foreign countries in

:50:29.:50:33.

the context of the UK and the First Minister turned it very quickly into

:50:34.:50:36.

an attack on what is known as the right clause. It was a confusing

:50:37.:50:42.

contribution from Ruth Davison. I was struggling to get the analogy

:50:43.:50:48.

which went between foreign aid and then John McAlpine's column on

:50:49.:50:53.

calling the UK Hell on Earth. There was a link made, but it wasn't

:50:54.:50:59.

obvious. It is very easy, the rate clause is going on, and there have

:51:00.:51:04.

been cause for Ruth Davison to make a statement, and she has said she

:51:05.:51:08.

supports it, but Nicola Sturgeon can probably go on for weeks bringing up

:51:09.:51:13.

that clause because it is so controversial. And all Ruth Davison

:51:14.:51:17.

would say in response was that it Nicola Sturgeon dislikes the

:51:18.:51:23.

proposals in the approach she can turn it around using those powers.

:51:24.:51:29.

She is in an uncomfortable situation. You have a UK Government

:51:30.:51:32.

which introduced something which looks pretty bad and I think Ruth

:51:33.:51:37.

Davidson knows that but she has to back the UK Government. She said at

:51:38.:51:40.

the Scottish Government don't like it they have the power is now to

:51:41.:51:44.

change it here but that does not get her off the hook. What was

:51:45.:51:48.

interesting today was that she allowed Nicola Sturgeon to throw

:51:49.:51:51.

that question back, what are you going to do about the rate clause,

:51:52.:51:55.

and she came back with an answer that allowed Nicola Sturgeon to go

:51:56.:52:00.

at it. We have then seen one of the main SNP lines of argument that we

:52:01.:52:05.

will see over the next seven weeks, to try and exploit that go on and

:52:06.:52:10.

say, if the Tory government with a small majority can do this, what

:52:11.:52:14.

more can it do if you give it unfettered majority? This brings me

:52:15.:52:20.

to the almost philosophical point, the presumption on all sides, except

:52:21.:52:26.

perhaps the Labour Party, that Theresa May is heading to be

:52:27.:52:30.

returned to Downing Street and it was about who could stand up for

:52:31.:52:36.

Scotland. It's almost as if that part of the election has already

:52:37.:52:41.

been held. Not a single candidate has stood and no one has put in any

:52:42.:52:45.

votes, but the assumption is with a 20 point plus lead in the polls,

:52:46.:52:50.

Theresa May will be unbeatable. Then it comes down to, what will you do

:52:51.:52:54.

in terms of standing up to it or in Scottish terms and that is where the

:52:55.:53:00.

argument is? Was Nicola Sturgeon and wives? She said Jeremy Corbyn would

:53:01.:53:06.

not win, -- unwise. She said she might be willing to work with him in

:53:07.:53:10.

a Progressive Alliance. That has muddied the waters a little. She is

:53:11.:53:16.

probably safe to say that it's unlikely Jeremy Corbyn will win but

:53:17.:53:19.

it's unfortunate it's already been put out there. That was one of the

:53:20.:53:23.

first thing said in the election campaign by the Tories, raising this

:53:24.:53:31.

perceived danger. They did that in 2015 and it worked. It is a genuine

:53:32.:53:37.

fear in England of this kind of alliance between Labour and the SNP.

:53:38.:53:42.

It really works as a tactic, so it's not something Nicola Sturgeon is

:53:43.:53:45.

wise to play up. There's Nicola Sturgeon need to refine the talking?

:53:46.:53:52.

It's either an alliance or being tough opposition to the Tories?

:53:53.:53:56.

Today the message was top opposition to the Tories. She was goaded into

:53:57.:53:58.

saying something along the Progressive Alliance line that she

:53:59.:54:05.

pushed in 2015. Her statements are all about standing up against the

:54:06.:54:10.

Tories, hard Brexit. If you see the way the Tories reacted, within an

:54:11.:54:15.

hour they had a mock-up of a poster saying coalition of chaos. Theresa

:54:16.:54:20.

May used a speech to hammer this, and Nicola Sturgeon gave away in and

:54:21.:54:24.

I think we will see no more talk of Progressive alliances from the SNP

:54:25.:54:27.

because it gives their opponents a way to go at them. Kezia Dugdale

:54:28.:54:34.

asked why you abstained in the vote on holding an election and it

:54:35.:54:37.

allowed Nicola Sturgeon a sharp comeback. It was a pretty weak

:54:38.:54:42.

question. It was going to go through yesterday and the SNP was not saying

:54:43.:54:50.

they would abstain. They are not saying the Tory government is great

:54:51.:54:53.

and we would support them. The converse thing would be the Tory

:54:54.:54:57.

government voting against themselves, saying they want to get

:54:58.:55:03.

rid of ourselves. It is a weak point. What about the argument Kezia

:55:04.:55:11.

Dugdale made that she said, Nicola Sturgeon said, that she once the

:55:12.:55:17.

Tories in power. Presumably to aggravate Scottish opinion and push

:55:18.:55:20.

towards a referendum on independence? There might be a

:55:21.:55:26.

little truth in it. I don't think that probably is true that if Labour

:55:27.:55:32.

wants to attack the SNP, that might be one way to do it that the fact is

:55:33.:55:37.

the SNP are not stopping Labour winning a general election. That was

:55:38.:55:44.

the comeback. Don't blame me, Nicola Sturgeon, because your party is

:55:45.:55:49.

useless. There were so many ways in which Nicola Sturgeon can and could

:55:50.:55:54.

attack Kezia Dugdale and she threw one back by saying, this is what you

:55:55.:55:57.

said about Jeremy Corbyn. Carping from the sidelines. This is one of

:55:58.:56:04.

the great weaknesses the Scottish Labour Party has. Iain Murray is no

:56:05.:56:09.

great fan of Jeremy Corbyn. Would not serve in his Shadow Cabinet. I

:56:10.:56:14.

Kezia Dugdale has been critical in the past. This will haunt them every

:56:15.:56:17.

day and every week at the campaign and opponents will say you don't

:56:18.:56:21.

think much of your leader, so why should anyone else vote for him? It

:56:22.:56:25.

was striking with Willie Rennie that most of the conversation was about

:56:26.:56:29.

strategic politics. He was talking about strategy as well but got it

:56:30.:56:34.

into waste of -- substantive point about European Union policy. He was

:56:35.:56:39.

one of the only leaders who found a weak spot in the SNP and went for

:56:40.:56:43.

it. It's a question about whether the SNP want us to go straight into

:56:44.:56:48.

the EU after independence or whether they are happy to have a Norway

:56:49.:56:51.

style model of being in the economic area. Nicola Sturgeon said the

:56:52.:56:59.

policy was clear. But she still not did answer the question about

:57:00.:57:02.

whether it was in the manifesto. Nicola Sturgeon is squirming a bit

:57:03.:57:05.

on this and it will only become clear when we get the SNP manifesto.

:57:06.:57:10.

So until that point, they will keep going at that. Jenny, the talk was

:57:11.:57:16.

that by the time the next UK general election came around, which was

:57:17.:57:22.

meant to be Twenty20, after Brexit negotiations, by then Britain was

:57:23.:57:25.

out or in the European Union and you had to have some modified way back

:57:26.:57:30.

in the European single market. Right now, Britain is in the European

:57:31.:57:34.

Union. Perhaps more straightforward, perhaps more complex. The timing

:57:35.:57:40.

would be difficult. It's difficult to foresee a way that Scotland could

:57:41.:57:46.

now stay in. You would have to have an independent referendum in time to

:57:47.:57:50.

not leave, but with a general election that has put back the

:57:51.:57:54.

Brexit negotiations a bit. That's properly another three months before

:57:55.:57:57.

things can get going. Either way it looks like the timeline, we would be

:57:58.:58:04.

out and the question would be, what would be -- we be applying to do?

:58:05.:58:10.

The SNP would be unwise to be too clear about that in the manifesto.

:58:11.:58:15.

One other thing that might be put on hold, the First Minister was talking

:58:16.:58:19.

about a statement to the Scottish Parliament regarding the next steps

:58:20.:58:22.

to a referendum. It had been mandated by the parliament here.

:58:23.:58:29.

Presumably that is on hold? I understand she wants to go ahead

:58:30.:58:32.

with the statement when she can, but the steps themselves as far as the

:58:33.:58:36.

UK Government is concerned, that will be pushed out well beyond the

:58:37.:58:41.

summer. Thanks both very much for joining us here to analyse the

:58:42.:58:45.

questions to the First Minister, dominated by elections, local

:58:46.:58:50.

elections and the small matter of the UK general elections. From me,

:58:51.:58:52.

Brian Taylor, goodbye. So, Suzanne, what's

:58:53.:59:06.

the correct answer? Brian Cox is discovering

:59:07.:59:24.

the Scots who made

:59:25.:59:28.