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FMQs: Ross condemns divisive Swinney's independence campaign slogan

Douglas Ross has hammered the likely next SNP leader John Swinney for making his campaign all about “uniting for independence”.

At First Minister’s Questions, Douglas Ross asked Humza Yousaf if Nicola Sturgeon’s deputy is “really the best the SNP can do?”

He said electing John Swinney would be the SNP going “back to the future”, and that he is “a continuity candidate pushing more of the same nationalist obsession that has damaged Scotland for more than a decade”.

The Scottish Conservative leader called John Swinney “Nicola Sturgeon’s human shield” who “masterminded the deal with the extreme Greens”.

Douglas Ross criticised John Swinney’s disastrous record in government, from the Named Persons law to the Ferguson Marine ferry contracts and letting our schools spiral down international league tables.


Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “The next First Minister must focus on what really matters to Scotland. They have to forget about independence, and prioritise growing our economy, creating jobs and improving public services.

“By focusing his campaign on ‘uniting for independence’, all John Swinney offers is more division for Scotland.

“He’s another continuity candidate pushing more of the same nationalist obsession that has damaged Scotland for more than a decade. He’s fixated on independence, not on the things that really matter.

“Just when he thought he was out, they pull John Swinney back in – because there’s nobody else.

“The SNP’s man for the future is their failed leader from the past.

“John Swinney was Nicola Sturgeon’s human shield.

“He masterminded the deal with the extreme Greens.

“For 16 out of 17 years of SNP Government, John Swinney sat at the cabinet table. His fingerprints are all over their most toxic policies.

“They think John Swinney is a safe pair of hands – but he dropped the ball dozens of times.

“He was the Deputy First Minister who stood right by Nicola Sturgeon when she obsessed about independence, raised taxes and wrecked Scotland’s public services.

“He was the architect of the hated Named Persons law.

“He deleted every pandemic WhatsApp message that should have gone to the UK Covid Inquiry in a shocking cover-up.

“He was the education secretary who let our schools spiral down international league tables below Estonia, Latvia and Hungary.

“He was the finance secretary who oversaw the disastrous ferries deal – but he’s supposed to steady the ship.

“His campaign slogan confirms that John Swinney will just be another divisive nationalist focused only on independence.

“John Swinney has been at the very heart of the failures that have defined the SNP’s time in office.

“How will the SNP stop failing Scotland if they keep doing the same thing over and over again?”