Nigel Farage lists the six biggest mistakes Nicola Sturgeon made
Nicola Sturgeon’s ‘litany of failures’ outlined by Hill
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Nigel Farage has listed the five biggest mistakes Nicola Sturgeon made in Scotland. Henry Hill, Deputy Editor of ConservativeHome, joined the GB News host to discuss the First Minister’s legacy after she announced her plan to resign in a move which sent shockwaves across Holyrood and Westminster.
Mr Farage paid tribute to Ms Sturgeon’s electoral successes, citing the 2015 General Election when the SNP won 56 out of 59 seats in Scotland.
He told viewers: “All the way through, even up to the last set of Scottish Parliament elections which took place last year, [the SNP] were still getting 48 percent of the popular, constituency vote.
“So in terms of fighting and winning elections, Nicola Sturgeon – no question – was a spectacular success.”
The former Brexit Party leader then asked what she has left behind in Scotland in terms of her legacy.
In response, Mr Hill said it was hard to list all of Ms Sturgeon’s failures in a reasonable period of time, but pointed to closing the attainment gap between richer and less well-off pupils; failing ferry services as well as school and NHS performance. Mr Farage added lower life expectancy and drug deaths to the list.
Mr Hill said: “There’s a litany of failures. It’s actually hard to point to any area of actually governing Scotland where the SNP’s [been] a success.”
ConservativeHome’s Deputy Editor added that the most damaging aspect is that Ms Sturgeon cultivated a reputation as a great progressive leader.
Mr Hill said: “But actually, it’s the least well off in Scotland who have suffered the most.”
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Mr Farage explained that Ms Sturgeon’s desire was to look progressive, but in the end by pushing the debate over gender recognition and the Isla Bryson convicted rapist scandal led the Scottish people to say, ‘No, enough’.
Asked if the SNP’s bubble has burst, Mr Hill replied: “Well, the SNP have a huge advantage, which the Tories used to enjoy. They have basically united the 45-ish percent of the Scottish electorate who supported independence behind them. Hence that string of amazing victories during Nicola Sturgeon’s tenure.
“The challenge for the SNP is that they’ve kept that going by constantly saying the next referendum’s just round the corner… That’s running out of road. So the question is, What happens then?”
Mr Farage predicted the SNP could lose 20 to 30 seats at the next General Election, but asked whether the Champagne corks were popping at Conservative HQ on Ms Sturgeon’s resignation announcement.
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His guest said: “Labour would be the most obvious beneficiary just because Scotland used to be very heavily Labour… There are two possible counter-vailing factors to that.
“The first is that the SNP’s first breakthrough came in what were previously Conservative seats in Scotland and the Conservatives did quite a good job of winning those back.
“The second is that after the referendum a lot of working class unionists started flocking to Tories – Lanark and Hamilton East almost went Conservative recently – so there’s a chance the Conservatives could continue to win over that hardcore unionist vote.
“The danger for the Tories of course is if the threat of independence seems to be… receding, then voters who were holding their nose perhaps to vote Tory to save the union might go back to Labour.”
The SNP’s vote share in opinion polls in Scotland has dipped in recent months, though the party remains ahead of its rivals across the board.
While the SNP enjoyed ratings in the high 40s or low 50s for much of the period after the December 2019 election and through the pandemic, in 2022 the figures started to drift downwards, briefly touching 42 percent in April and 41 percent in November.
This was paralleled by a rise in support for Labour, whose ratings had hovered around 20 percent for much of the previous two years, but which began to see an increase from early 2022.
The latest monthly average puts the SNP on 43 percent, Labour on 30 percent, the Conservatives on 16 percent and the Liberal Democrats on six percent.
At the 2019 general election, the SNP won 45 percent of the vote in Scotland, with the Tories on 25 percent, Labour on 19 percent and the Lib Dems on 10 percent.
After a meeting of the SNP’s National Executive Committee today (February 16) those eyeing Ms Sturgeon’s job have until February 24 to submit their nomination with the vote open between March 13 and 27.
Lorna Finn, the party’s National Secretary, said: “Nicola has been the outstanding politician of this generation. We are very fortunate that she will remain an SNP MSP and a leading campaigner for an independent Scotland.
“But the SNP is full of talented individuals and they now have the opportunity to put themselves forward and our new leader will lead us into the final phase of Scotland’s journey towards independence.”
The party has said the results of the contest will be made public as soon as the result is determined and after the candidates have been told.
Ms Sturgeon had backed the use of the next General Election as a de facto referendum on independence, but the party announced on Thursday that would be postponed.
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