2. The SNP's Nicola Sturgeon; Scottish Labour's Kezia Dugdale and the Scottish Conservative's Ruth Davidson answered questions in the final TV debate before 5 May
  3. Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie and Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie were also taking part
  4. The debate was held before a live audience of voters at Hopetoun House, South Queensferry

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Deirdre Kelly

All times stated are UK

TV debate ends - join us for results night on 5 May

That brings us to the end of this final TV debate before election day.

  • For more information go to our special election page
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That's all from the final TV debate, from Hopetoun House
That's all from the final TV debate, from Hopetoun House

Lines of attack interesting at #LeadersDebate. Lion's share of the shouting-over-each-other done by Ms Dugdale, Ms Sturgeon and Ms Davidson.

SNP leader recognises work lead of teachers

Ms Sturgeon says she hopes there is no industrial action and says a working group is looking at the workload facing teachers.

Teacher discontent and pupil testing

Kezia Dugdale says she would support the EIS who have threatened industrial action due to the workload of the Curriculum for Excellence.

Hospital issue raised in debate

A member of the audience asks about the future of services of the Royal Alexandria Hospital in Paisley.

Ms Sturgeon says her party will "keep services as local as they need to be".

Ruth Davidson calls for an inquiry into the Edinburgh schools building issue

She believes it important to get to the bottom of what happened and to make sure schools across the country are made safe.

The Scottish Conservative leader calls for the buildings inspection regime to be looked at and says the SNP have knocked back these requests.

Scottish Green Party leader hits back over private partnership contracts


Patrick Harvie says the UK Labour government made sure the PPP/PFI contracts were the only game in town.

The Scottish Green Party co-convener says the accountability of all of our public services and infrastructure must be looked at. 

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon says there should be an inquiry into the Edinburgh school crisis

She adds that the old contracts maximised public profit over public good.

Kezia Dugdale criticises the Conservatives

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, whose party was in power with the Lib Dems when the contracts were signed, says the Tories had left the school estate in rack and ruin.

Willie Rennie on the 'safety' of Scotland's schools

The Lib Dems are reminded they were part of the coalition that signed the PFI and PPP contracts.

Willie Rennie says it was the only game in town due to Gordon Brown.

Mr Rennie insists the schools in Edinburgh must be made safe for the children as the first priority.

Then there should be an inquiry into how this happened and how the contracts may have contributed to this. 

Question Four


NHS funding debate continues

Nicola Sturgeon says she is committed to raising more than £500m extra above inflation for the NHS but the Scottish Labour party is only promising to match inflation.

Ms Dugdale says her party will increase NHS spending by inflation, but her tax raising plans will allow investment in public services.

Ms Sturgeon accuses Ms Dugdale of being dishonest, to which she replies that the SNP is refusing to use the powers of the parliament.

Ms Dugdale says her party has promised an appointment within 48 hours at a GP surgery

She adds that may not be with a GP necessary, perhaps a specialist nurse.

This would cost £100m per annum, she says, which can be paid for by extra tax.

The Scottish Labour leader says her tax plans will raise four times as much as the SNP.

Scottish Labour on Scotland's health servcie

Kezia Dugdale says the Scottish Labour Party will continue not to charge for prescriptions and the NHS will be free at the point of use.

Ms Dugdale says as well as the NHS, a healthy society must be invested in and this requires stopping the cuts and asking those with broader shoulders to pay a little more for public services.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is asked if she agrees there is a GP crisis

Nicola Sturgeon

She says her party is pledging more in the NHS than any other party, with a rise higher by £500m more than inflation.

Ms Sturgeon adds her party will spend an increasing proportion of the budget on GP services, social care and mental health each year.

The SNP leader says Ruth Davidson will restore prescription charges for those earning as low as £16,000.

Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie says Scotland will be 740 GPs short by the end of the decade

He adds that there are young people waiting for months on end to get mental health treatment.

Mr Rennie says his party will invest in both to address this.

He says there must be mental health professionals in GP surgeries, with the police and in A&Es, but the most important of all is helping young people and adolescents with mental health problems.

This is SO much better than the previous BBC #leadersdebate

What is this audience on? They're greeting every single statement like a celebrity guest cast member on Friends. #leadersdebate

However another man gets a clap for saying we should do away with manifestos. Think the audience are just having a wonderful time generally

Good to see everyone fired up, shows folly of having last debates so early in the campaign. #leadersdebate

Scottish Green Party co-convener says the NHS should be free at the point of use

Patrick Harvie says income tax is the way to make sure people like himself pay more towards an NHS.

He asks if going down Ruth Davidson's line would lead to charges for GPs next.

Ruth Davidson says what her party would do with the NHS

She tells the audience that there is an NHS guarantee in her manifesto that NHS funding will rise by 2% or by inflation or by Barnett consequentials - whichever is higher. 

Ms Davidson says mental health will be a priority and GP services will receive more funding under her party.

She says her party will bring back prescription charges for 10% of them, leaving 90% free. 

Question Three

Health budget

Ruth Davidson says there should be a commitment in a manifesto before a mandate can be given for a second referendum

Ms Davidson says all Ms Sturgeon has to do to bring the country together is to a second referendum is off the table for the next parliament, which would provide stability.

Ms Sturgeon says if there is no change in opinion and Scotland is not ripped out of Europe against its will then it will not be on the table.

However, the SNP leader says if a majority of people in Scotland want a referendum then they should get it. 

Ms Sturgeon says "no politician has the right to stand in the way" of a second referendum, to a similarly noisy response from crowd.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson says there is no mandate to call a second referendum

Ms Davidson says Ms Sturgeon has responsibilities to all of Scotland not just the SNP.

She says Ms Sturgeon "should not be keeping this wound open".

Ms Davidson says the SNP leader has gone back on her promises of once in a lifetime, once in a generation. 

Patrick Harvie says his party will campaign for another yes vote in a new referendum

The Scottish Green Party co-convener says we should respect the result of the referendum, but respecting the result also means respecting that a substantial number did vote for independence.

He says the opportunity to continue to debate this is clear.

Mr Harvie says the great mass of people in Scotland are capable of having this debate in a mature way.

Willie Rennie: 'We cannot have a groundhog day about independence'


The Scottish Lib Dem leader says many areas like education, mental health, climate change and civil liberties have been neglected for the last five years.

Did they not get the message, says Mr Rennie, saying to Ms Sturgeon she is "anti-democratic".

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon says the issue is rooted in democracy

She says if she cannot persuade people that independence is the right option she will not have earned the right to ask the question again.

However, she says if Scotland is ripped out of Europe against its will or the majority of Scots back independence then no politician has the right to stand in the way.

Ms Sturgeon says it is ultimately down to the will of the Scottish people "what is so frightening about that".

Kezia Dugdale: 'Referendum was once in a lifetime'

The Scottish Labour leader says it's not even 20 months that have passed since the referendum and she believed Nicola Sturgeon when she said it was a once in a lifetime, once in a generation opportunity.

She says Ms Sturgeon is trying to pull the wool over people's eyes.

Ms Dugdale says Ms Sturgeon says "we should trust the pollsters" and if we trusted them Ed Miliband would be prime minister.

Question Two on independence

Referendum question

Heated debate over the future of jobs on the Clyde

Sturgeon and Davidson

Kezia Dugdale accuses Ruth Davidson of telling a porky about the work on the Clyde saying there is an 18 month delay.

Ruth Davidson says the Clyde must not be reliant only on the MOD for contracts.

Nicola Sturgeon again says there is an 18 month delay, to which Ms Davidson says the SNP has been shameful on this issue.

Ms Sturgeon says the unions and workers are furious that promises have not been kept.

A stramash between the two develops.

Mr Rennie presses his Green opponent on North Sea job losses

Willie Rennie

Willie Rennie asks what Patrick is going to say to the 150,000 people who will lose their jobs in the North Sea.

Mr Harvie says he does not want to leave those over exposed to the same limbo as Longannet and that is why sustainable jobs are vital. 

Scottish Green Party co-convener agrees education needs more investment.

Partick Harvie says the argument for an energy transition is key.

He says his party will bring relentless pressure to bear to increase public investment.

The Scottish Green Party co-convener says quality employment, as well as quantity, is crucial.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader talks of growth and opportunity

Willie Rennie says a magnet must be created in this country for businesses to invest, to attract growth and opportunity.

He says education must be built up to be the best again and that requires investment for the future.

In order to do that "we need to put a modest penny on income tax", he says.

The priority must be the early years, he adds.

Trident and the issue of jobs is tackled by the Scottish Labour leader

Kezia Dugdale

Ms Dugdale says her party opposes the renewal of Trident - but adds thousands of jobs are reliant on that base.

That is why alternative jobs must be provided for these people via a diversification agency, insists the Scottish Labour leader.

She says her party's opposition of Trident is reliant on providing these jobs. 

Ms Dugdale makes her pitch for how new jobs can be created

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale says "we have to invest" in the skills and development of our people.

Ms Dugdale says her party will use the tax powers of the parliament to raise more money for education to create the jobs necessary.

Ms Davidson reacts to claims of job losses on the Clyde

The Scottish Tory leader says she has spoken to the defence secretary and has been assured there is no change since last year.

Ms Sturgeon insists there is a delay and it is an absolute betrayal.

The Scottish Conservative leader comes back and says there would be no ships built on the Clyde if there was independence.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson cites business groups saying SNP's policies are damaging for business

Ms Davidson adds that one in seven business will be hit by a doubling of the business rates.

She says her party will make sure there are "never taxes higher here" than the rest of the UK.

The Scottish Conservative leader says her party will not increase business rates.