Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has launched a stinging attack on Nicola Sturgeon’s audacious bid to tear the UK apart.
Ms Davidson told MSPs that the First Minister’s threat to stage another referendum was “stifling investment” in Scottish firms and posing a “direct threat” to economic growth.
Energy is being “diverted into an endless political campaign”, she said, with Ms Sturgeon’s list of legislation serving as “a warm-up act to nudge the independence caravan another few inches along the road”.
“I do not subscribe to the view that we are helpless to act in the face of Brexit – nor do I think that breaking up a union worth four times more to Scotland than the EU is going to help matters very much,” she said.
“I said two weeks ago I wanted a new type of Scottish Government and what I mean is one which no longer asks – how will this boost independence? But one that asks – how are we growing the country?”
Unveiling her program for government for the coming year, Nicola Sturgeon announced a £500 million Scottish Growth Scheme to help companies cope with the fallout of the Brexit vote.
She said the three-year scheme represented “an exceptional response to an exceptional economic challenge” but then confirmed she will also consult on a draft Referendum Bill that can be tabled instantly if she concludes independence is Scotland’s best option.
Davidson and Kezia Dugdale, her Labour counterpart, said the rest of the program for government showed the SNP has run out of ideas after nearly a decade in power, despite deep-seated problems in the NHS and education system.