Scottish election 2021: Sturgeon says ‘serious leadership’ needed

Nicola Sturgeon has said she is the only politician in this election campaign offering serious leadership.

Pressed repeatedly on her party’s record in government on education and health, she said progress had been made but insisted there was more to do.

She said it was a “serious time” as Scotland recovered from the pandemic, and stressed her view that the SNP was the only party with a proper plan.

The other political parties were all vying for second place, she said.

Ms Sturgeon told The Sunday Show that politicians tend to claim every election is the most important but this time it was “probably true”, she said.

“I am the only candidate for first minister that is not just talking about recovery in this election but has put forward a serious plan but to bring about that recovery,” she said.

Ms Sturgeon said she would “challenge” the claim that her party had not kept promises it made at the last election.

On the attainment gap in education, Ms Sturgeon said “we haven’t yet done enough”, but pointed to some examples of progress and said there was more work to do if re-elected.

And she said work was ongoing towards delivering improved cancer services promised five years ago.

On an SNP pledge from 2007 to scrap the council tax, she said there there had been no consensus in parliament on what to replace it with. She added that the tax had been reformed to be more progressive.

Ms Sturgeon added: “We are not saying there are not big challenges to address in this country, but we are the only party actually doing the work and putting forward the plans to actually do that – and that’s the choice people have on Thursday.

“Do you want to vote for parties who are vying for second place, openly saying they’ve got no plan for government – or do you want a serious first minister, an experienced first minister, leading a government that is serious about tackling the challenges?”