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  1. Scotland's main political leaders took part in the first of two BBC Scotland debates ahead of the 7 May General Election
  2. Scottish Labour's Jim Murphy; Willie Rennie for the Scottish Liberal Democrats; the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon and Ruth Davidson for the Scottish Tories answered questions
  3. They were joined by Patrick Harvie, joint leader for the Scottish Green Party, and David Coburn, Scotland's UKIP spokesman
  4. The debate took place before an audience gathered at Elphinstone Hall in Aberdeen

Live Reporting

By Deirdre Kelly, Andrew Black and Doug Kennedy

All times stated are UK

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The end

And that's the end of the debate. Thanks for joining us!

'A disgrace'

Ms Sturgeon attacks Mr Coburn's "narrow-minded" attitude and says he is a disgrace. Ms Davidson supports the comments, but says the UK can still get a better deal out of Europe.

Via Twitter

Peter Owen

tweets: Sturgeon is getting a real reality check tonight. #leadersdebate


tweets: #leadersdebate Jim you were asked about joining forces with SNP... no answer

'Leave EU'

Mr Coburn says it's time to leave the EU, because 70% of decisions which affect the UK are made by an unelected commission.

Choice of two

Mr Murphy says the election is a choice between a Labour government and a Tory government.

'Break up UK'

Mr Coburn says his party would be against anyone wanting to "break up" the UK. Ms Sturgeon says she's relieved that she's not in agreement with UKIP.

Horse trading

Ms Sturgeon says you can change the policy direction of governments without bringing them down. Mr Murphy says the way to avoid the horse trading is by voting Labour. (Ms Davidson says the same goes for her party).

Via Twitter

Brian Mathuna

tweets: Lib dem guy has a great sense of humour tbf to him. Dark humour about damage tuition fees did. #leadersdebate

Ms Sturgeon says the SNP won't vote for further spending cuts in the next parliament or back a replacement for Trident nuclear weapons.

Triple lock

Ms Sturgeon says there is a "triple lock" on independence - "material change", its insertion in the 2016 manifesto and the vote itself.

'Dragged from EU'

Ms Sturgeon says this election is not about another independence referendum. She said something "material" would have to change, like the Tories trying to "drag" Scotland out of Europe, for example.

Via Twitter

Paula McNulty

tweets: Is there still time to set up a new party to vote for? So uninspired by this chat & seriously question the hashtag accuracy -#leadersdebate


What's the background to the Scottish independence referendum?

Independence referendum

Ms Davidson says she's committed to the UK. She says she would not block another independence referendum, but adds the SNP says it was a once in a generation event.

Via Twitter

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

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

'Stay the course'

Mr Rennie makes clear that he said sorry for the Lib Dem U-turn on tuition fees, but says once again the country must stay the course on economic recovery.

Via Email

Jimmy Laing

Interestingly no one mentioned the over taxation of the oil industry during the oil debate.

Big companies

Patrick Harvie

Mr Harvie asked if the Greens are saying they won't support a government which is in favour of capitalism. He says big companies are controlling many services, and that needs to change.

Via Email

Jackie Mackay

Conservatives and Lib Dems and Labour say we have the fastest growing economy and the lowest unemployment rate, yet the wages are down and the public sector workers have had no real pay rise in several years yet have sneaked taxes added into our superannuated pensions. If the wages don't go up then surely circulating cash falls, therefore businesses suffer.

Via Twitter

Andrew Picken

tweets: Fair play to @BBCJamesCook for calling out the awful jargon which plagues Scottish politics #leadersdebate

Mr Harvie says he would never back a government which supports nuclear weapons.

Third question

Policy position


Ms Davidson says scrapping the Barnett funding formula would cost Scotland billions.

Food vouchers

Mr Murphy says people who benefit from the Scottish welfare have to hand over vouchers to get food. Ms Sturgeon accuses him of using less well off people to make a political point.

Via Twitter


tweets: If Nicola Sturgeon was in Star Trek the Next Generation those pips on her dress would make her a Lieutenant. #LeadersDebate

Angus Forbes

tweets: Norway, Norway, Norway, oil, oil, oil #leadersdebate


tweets: I could also vote for the audience. #LeadersDebate

'More cuts'

Ms Sturgeon says the alternative to having more powers is to accept you will be at the mercy of more Westminster cuts.

Scotland's economy

Ms Sturgeon says Scotland's economy is not based on oil. She adds that the other parties wrongly give the impression that Westminster is a guardian of public services.

Via Twitter

Brianna Bethany

tweets: spread the risk that's rich from the party who wants to cut money from Scotland #leadersdebate

Scotland's future

Mr Coburn says Scotland would be finished if it had listened to "Ms Sturgeon and her crew".

Oil and gas

Ms Davidson says 140,000 work in oil and gas. Mr Harvie says you need to support those workers to build skills in new energy.

Via Twitter

Aaron Carr

tweets: @patrickharvie: fossil fuels will kill us (I paraphrase) and he's absolutely right #leadersdebate

Reliance on oil

Mr Rennie says there would be "blind panic" if Scotland had become independent, given what he said was the SNP's reliance on oil prices.

One UK

Ms Davidson says the UK is one country and Scotland voted to stay in it. She says that means everyone putting money into the same pot.


Douglas Fraser

Business/economy editor, Scotland

What would happen if the Scottish Parliament got full fiscal autonomy? Excuse the jargon. What it means is that Holyrood would have control over all of taxation in Scotland......

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Via Twitter


tweets: No to Full Fiscal Autonomy! A really terrible policy idea #leadersdebate

Full fiscal autonomy

Ms Sturgeon asked about "full fiscal autonomy" (complete of taxation and spending) for Scotland. She says she would vote for it. Mr Murphy says he doesn't support it, because it means being cut off from sources of taxation across the UK.

Renewable energy

Ms Sturgeon says the country has to work towards boosting renewable energy sources.

Saving money

Mr Harvie says you can't save money by "cancelling your membership of the civilised world".

Mr Murphy says the Conservatives refuse to tax millionaires more, while Labour wants to end "zero hours" contracts.

Second Question

oil question