Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Sturgeon Pledge - 'Strong Government in Powerhouse Parliament'


Nicola Sturgeon, who is the sole nominee to be the new leader of the Scottish National Party, has today pledged to deliver strong and competent government in a powerhouse Parliament, as she put job creation, fairness, protection of public services and the delivery of extensive new powers for the Scottish Parliament at the heart of her plans to lead the SNP and Scotland.

She also announced that she will embark on a tour of Scotland, with a series of major events to rally and engage the tens of thousands of new members who have joined the Scottish National Party since the referendum. Party membership has gone from around 25,000 on referendum day to over 80,000 and rising. These events will give new members the opportunity to attend major events at a local level, over and above the Party's Annual National Conference which will take place in Perth next month - and at which Ms Sturgeon will formally take over as Party Leader.

Although the events are principally for new members, they will also be an opportunity to engage beyond SNP ranks and build new support, with each new member invited to bring along someone who is not yet a member or supporter of the SNP.

Ms Sturgeon will deliver a keynote speech at each of the events setting out her vision for the way forward for the SNP and for Scotland, and take questions from the audience.

The events are:
  • Edinburgh, Wednesday 29 October, Corn Exchange
  • Dumfries, Friday 31 October, Easterbrook Hall
  • Dundee, Friday 7 November, Caird Hall
  • Inverness, Monday 10 November, Eden Court Theatre
  • Glasgow, Saturday 22 November, The SSE Hydro
  • Aberdeen, Sunday 7 December, Music Hall
In addition, on Tuesday 11 November, Ms Sturgeon will take part in an online interview and Facebook Q&A session for new members in rural and remote parts of Scotland.

The largest event in the series will be a capacity crowd of 12,000 at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, making it the largest indoor political gathering held in Scotland - or indeed anywhere in the UK - in recent times.

Ms Sturgeon said:

"It is a privilege to have been chosen by the SNP to succeed Alex Salmond as Party Leader. Alex is a hard act to follow but I am determined to lead the SNP - and the country - from strength to strength.

"The SNP was re-elected in 2011 on the basis of our record as a good government. My job will to be to build on that record and deliver strong, competent government with job creation, fairness and the protection of high quality public services at its heart. If elected by Parliament to be the next First Minister, that will be my priority each and every day that I hold office.

"I will also work to ensure that the Scottish Parliament gets the extensive new powers that Scotland was promised before the referendum. I will always make the case for Scotland to be an independent country, but with the Westminster parties already backsliding on the delivery of new powers, my immediate job will be to hold them firmly to account - and I am today putting them on notice that I intend to do just that.

"Of course, the SNP that I will lead has grown dramatically in recent weeks and we are now the third largest political party in the UK. We are in great heart as we look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.

"Our new members bring a new energy and dynamism - and not just to the SNP. They are also a potent force who can help Scotland progress as a country.

"I am looking forward to meeting as many of our new recruits as possible and sharing with them my vision for the future. The tour of Scotland that I will undertake in the next few weeks also sets the template for the kind of First Minister I want to be - open, accessible and determined to work with others across the political divide to find common cause and build a better country.

"The hope, excitement and sense of opportunity of the referendum campaign did not end on polling day. It is alive, well and growing. This is a great time for Scotland and I look forward to leading my party and our country to even better times ahead."
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