Election 2015 Scotland

Election 2015: Scottish leaders' debate round-up

Ahead of the general election on 7 May, BBC Scotland hosted a debate in Aberdeen giving voters the chance to quiz the Scottish party leaders. Here are some of the highlights from the on-air discussion, the reaction on social media and your comments to our live page.

The panellists

Image copyright PA

Patrick Harvie: Scottish Greens co-convener.

Ruth Davidson: Scottish Conservative leader.

Jim Murphy: Scottish Labour leader.

Nicola Sturgeon: SNP leader.

Willie Rennie: Scottish Liberal Democrat leader.

David Coburn: UKIP Scotland

The questions

1. Is it responsible to spend our way out of debt?

2. Scotland won't be able to live off oil and gas forever, what measures will you implement to help the transition?

3. What policy position of yours is beyond compromise?

The arguments

How to spend and how to pay down the national debt kicked things off, with each party claiming to chart a course which would foster growth but control the deficit.

Oil and gas opened up the issue of "full fiscal autonomy", whether the SNP want full economic controls and when.

Nicola Sturgeon said she wanted full control as soon as other parties allowed. Mr Murphy said he did not believe it made sense, when being part of the UK benefits Scotland.

Mr Rennie said that if the future of oil and gas was framed in terms of a Yes rather than a No vote, Scotland would be facing "blind panic".


On "red line" policies, Ms Davidson said hers was her commitment to the United Kingdom.

Pressed on the possibility of an "indyref2", Ms Sturgeon said she was not planning or proposing another referendum.

Cries of "2016" - indicating the SNP's next Holyrood manifesto - were thrown from other parties. Ms Sturgeon said something would have to change to revisit a referendum, such as being "dragged" out of Europe.

"You're not thinking about breaking you promise," Mr Rennie commented "I would advise against it." Mr Murphy said the SNP leader had become a "mibbes aye, mibbes naw" campaign.

Read the full story here.

Online reaction

David Wyllie: exceptional kraftwerk gig tonight in Aberdeen #leadersdebate

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw: The Scottish #leadersdebate is soooo much better than than the UK-wide one. Much less condescension/false posturing, I think??

Image copyright Twitter

Matt Roper: Here's how the BBC #leadersdebate unfolded on Twitter - more than 50,000 tweets, peaking at 1000 tweets a minute http://reverb.guru/view/815238988305313263

fegrig: Well that made up my mind - NOT! #leadersdebate #mebbe

And finally...

Or more accurately, but first...

In the build up, as press shots were being taken, podiums set up and microphones checked, Ruth Davidson put party differences aside to help Jim Murphy adjust his tie.

The iPlayer

Don't worry, if you did miss the leaders' debate from Aberdeen, you can check it out in full on the BBC iPlayer.

Join in

If you've enjoyed tweeting, texting and messaging on the Scottish general election campaign, you might like to be in a radio audience for one of our regional debates.

For a chance to put your question to local party candidates in Galashiels, Inverness and Moffat you can apply online here.

For a paper application form, send your name and address on a postcard to the debate you're interested in attending:

  • Galashiels radio election debate, BBC Selkirk, Unit 5, Ettrick Riverside, Dunsdale Road, Selkirk, TD7 5EB.
  • Inverness radio election debate, BBC Inverness, 7 Culduthel Road, Inverness, IV2 4AD.
  • Moffat radio election debate, BBC Dumfries, Elmbank, Lover's Walk, Dumfries, DG1 1NZ.