Nicola Sturgeon savaged over independence in fiery FMQs clash: ‘You have wrong priorities’

Richard Leonard slammed the SNP leader’s constant calls for a “divisive referendum” and her obsession with the European flag. The Labour MSP also savaged Sturgeon over the unfinished hospital that is costing £1.4 million in charges every month. Ms Sturgeon hit back arguing that “Tory cuts” over the last decade have been made more challenging by a lack of support from the Labour Party for borrowing powers. 

Mr Leonard said: “Instead of using this Parliament to speak to your party about a divisive referendum that people don’t want and obsessing about a flag.

“Never mind the symbolism of a flag, let’s look at the symbolism of a sick kids hospital. 

“A hospital that will not open for a year but which is costing £1.4 million a month in charges. 

“Which proves as this week’s report by audit Scotland shows, that with your finance model we have a transfer of reward to the sector but no transfer of risk.”

He continued: “First Minister this week has shown that you have got the wrong priorities. 

“Tomorrow you’re speaking to your party faithful so today why don’t you speak to the patients, to the families, to the staff who are being let down in this city. 

“Why don’t you take this opportunity to focus on their priorities?”

Ms Sturgeon hit back saying: “I think Richard Leonard should just be relieved that tomorrow he is not speaking to his party faithful because there would be utter despair.

“We use the non-profit distributing model because of the Tory cuts we have had over the last decade. 

“The last couple of years we have had very limited borrowing powers because Labour of course did not support borrowing powers coming to this Parliament.”

Earlier this week, during an interview with Sky News, Ms Sturgeon outlined her radical plans for a Scottish visa that would use the existing Scottish tax code to tie visas to employment specifically in Scotland. 

Ms Sturgeon said: “There is a proposal for a Scottish visa. 

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“So somebody who wants to come to the UK, as well as the other routes of application, could apply specifically to come work in Scotland.

“We would use the existing Scottish tax code to tie Scottish visas to employment here in Scotland.

“There are precedents for this kind of more regionalised approach to immigration in countries like Canada and Australia.

“It is a practical, workable solution designed to address specific Scottish challenges and I hope the UK Government will respond to it positively.”

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