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Summary

  1. Scotland's main party leaders take part in a live debate, hosted by the BBC's Sarah Smith.
  2. Nicola Sturgeon (SNP); Kezia Dugdale (Labour); Ruth Davidson (Conservative) and Willie Rennie (Lib Dems) answered questions.
  3. They were joined by Patrick Harvie of the Scottish Greens and David Coburn from UKIP.
  4. The debate takes place ahead of the General Election on 8 June.
  5. At the ballot box in 2015, the SNP won 56 Scottish seats with the Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems winning one each.

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Colin Bell

All times stated are UK

That's all from BBC Scotland's leaders' debate

That's all from BBC Scotland's leaders debate online
bbc
That's all from BBC Scotland's leaders debate online

Follow the rest of the general election campaign by going to our special index.

Lib Dem MSP says Willie Rennie was 'pitch perfect'

Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton says he is a proud man tonight.

He believes Willie Rennie was pitch perfect on the core message that "Scotland is strong at the heart of the UK and the UK is strong at the heart of Europe".

The view from Labour

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie says Kezia Dugdale was strong on the opposition to a "second divisive independence referendum".

Ms Baillie says the SNP and Tories were exposed by a nurse in the audience who has had to use food banks.

'This was really about Nicola Sturgeon versus Ruth Davidson'

Lynsey Bewes from the Press Association says this was really about Nicola Sturgeon versus Ruth Davidson, with Kezia Dugdale strong on education.

Willie Rennie got a few cheers for his stance on Brexit, education and mental health.

Want to quiz Scotland's party leaders a bit more?

Scottish Party leaders
BBC
Political leaders Ruth Davidson, Nicola Sturgeon, Kezia Dugdale and Willie Rennie will each appear in their own "Ask the Leaders" TV programme

BBC Scotland will be hosting a series of "Ask the leaders" TV debates and is calling for members of the public to be part of the audiences.

The half-hour programmes, featuring Scotland's main party leaders, will take place at 19:00 on four weekday nights starting Monday 29 May.

Each politician will answer audience questions on a range of subjects.

The programmes will take place at BBC Scotland's Pacific Quay HQ and be hosted by Glenn Campbell.

First up will be Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie (29 May); next will be Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale (30 May); she will be followed by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson (1 June) and the final night will feature Scottish National Party leader and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (2 June).

Ruth Davidson's 'mask has slipped'

The SNP's Joanna Cherry says Ms Sturgeon explained to the nurse more has been done for the NHS than anywhere else in the UK

Ms Cherry say Ruth Davidson's mask has slipped and accuses her of going to pieces.

Scottish government using Brexit to 'engineer a second independence referendum'

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser says the people of the UK voted to leave the EU adding that the Scottish government have no interest in getting a good deal in Brexit negotiations.

Mr Fraser says that the Scottish government is using Brexit to "engineer a second independence referendum".

Who performed best?

Richard Walker of the National says: "I think Nicola Sturgeon performed best."

Mr Walker says she faced difficult questions about nurses pay and education, but took responsibility for education.

He says there are other issues that should have been discussed.

Policies get 'jumbled up' during elections

Political commentator David Torrance says it shows you how "jumbled up" policies get during elections.

He adds that people no longer differentiate between devolved and reserved matters at these times.

Back in the spin room...

Political editor of the Daily Record David Clegg says the dynamic was between Nicola Sturgeon and Ruth Davidson, which was a change from SNP and Labour.

Mr Clegg says the highlight of the night was the nurse who gave Nicola Stugeon "a much more difficult time than any of the politicians on the night".

He says: "I have never seen Nicola Sturgoen quite so uncomfortable on television before."

Background: MSPs vote to set income tax rates and bands for first time

Chamber
Scottish Parliament

Holyrood made history by voting to set separate Scottish income tax rates and bands for the first time in February.

The SNP and Greens agreed a deal which means the basic rate, paid by most taxpayers, has been left alone.

But the threshold for paying the 40p rate starts at £43,000 in Scotland instead of the £45,000 elsewhere.

Read more here.

Unreasonable taxes mean that people will just move says David Coburn

UKIP's David Coburn says unreasonable taxes mean that people will just move.

Mr Coburn says he does not want to see that and there should be some "serious looking into" corporations and how they pay tax.

Harvie says we should have a progressive tax policy in Scotland

Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie says we should have a progressive tax policy in Scotland.

Mr Harvie says the Tories have been consistently reducing the rate of corporation tax.

He says we must look at addressing wealth inequality and says the UK and Scottish government's need to change direction to make that happen.

Davidson accuses Ms Sturgeon of 'scaremongering' over welfare reform

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson says there are more people on PIP at the higher rate than DLA.

Ms Davidson accuses Ms Sturgeon of "scaremongering".

She says everybody is now getting help with a job coach to get back into work.

Nicola Sturgeon says 800 people a week are losing their motability vehicles, but Ms Davidson hits back saying there are more now than in 2010.

Treatment of disabled people 'shameful' says Nicola Sturgeon

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says one of the biggest responsibilities of the Westminster government is the social security system.

Ms Sturgeon says disabled people are being "dragged to assessments" and asked to justify themselves.

The first minister says "it is shameful" and calls on Ruth Davidson to speak up on these "callous" policies.

Nicola Sturgeon challenged

Paying fair share

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson says we need to make sure corporations pay their share.

She says: "We're cracking down on it."

A man in the audience asks why there are more inspectors looking at vulnerable people than inspectors checking Amazon and google.

He adds that he feels he is under surviellance 24 hours a day.

Audience member on his experience of medical assessments

An audience member says he suffers from autism and that he is on a mental health waiting list.

He says that if fewer tax breaks were given to corporations then the money raised could help people like him back into work.

He also says that he was asked at a medical assessment if he had ever contemplated taking his own life and that this is "disgraceful".

Police 'no longer sustainable'

The First minister says: "We've had a really difficult period of public spending."

She says: "We also have a policy of no compulsory redundancies to protect jobs."

Nicola Sturgeon says with inflation rising she accepts the policy is no longer sustainable.

Audience member challenges Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon says inflation is rising and that the pay gap is not sustainable across the public sector.

Ms Sturgeon says we do listen to what public sector workers are saying.

You are not listening."

Audience member

The audience member adds that nurses are now contemplating strikes and that no nurse wants that.

She asks the first minister to come into a hospital on any working day to witness how difficult it is.

Nurses pay and foodbanks

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale says Nicola Sturgeon heard the nurse say she had to go to a foodbank and adds that the first minister voted against a pay rise for nurses.

The first minister says that is not true and says a newly started nurse gets more here than in England.

Ms Dugdale says the nurse can't pay her food bill.

Ms Sturgeon responds by saying the government listens to the NHS pay review body.

Mr Coburn enters the debate: "Let them eat cake Nicola, let them eat cake."

Sarah Smith brings in the nurse again from the audience:

She says: "They don't seem to be listening.

Scotland 'not the highest taxed part of the UK'

Nicola Sturgeon says Ruth Davidson "talks a lot of nonsense about Scotland being the highest taxed part of the UK".

Ms Sturgeon says you get free prescriptions and personal care in Scotland.

Davidson says the SNP have created higher taxes in Scotland

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson says people on low incomes should not have that money taken away in tax which is why the threshold has been raised.

Ms Davidson says there needs to be an equitable tax system.

She says there are now divergent taxes in Scotland with a "sign at Gretna saying higher taxes here".

A 'massive tax cut' should not be handed to high earners

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the Scottish government supports a 50p top rate of tax.

Ms Sturgeon says she does not believe the basic rate should be increased and that a "massive tax cut" should not be handed to the higher earners.

The fist minister says the Westminster government has the "wrong priorities".

Dugdale says it is right to 'ask the richest people in society to pay their share'

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale says income tax should be increased.

Ms Dugdale explains: "We are now here in Scotland in a position to do things differently from the Tories."

She says her party's manifesto launching tomorrow will detail 1p on the basic rate and 50p on the top rate of tax.

Ms Dugdale says it is right to "ask the richest people in society to pay their share".

Scottish Lib Dems want to increase tax for education and mental health

Willie Rennie says we should put 1p on the basic rate of income tax.

He adds that this money should be put into the Scottish education system which was once world renowned, but is now just "average."

The Scottish Lib Dem leader says that there also needs to be investment into mental health services.

Audience question on tax

Question on tax
BBC

UKIP MEP says people are coming out of school who are not properly educated

UKIP's David Coburn says his party would extend free tuition to England as well.

Mr Coburn says EU students at Scottish university is depriving Scots from places and he says that is wrong.

The UKIP MEP says people are coming out of school who are not properly educated, which he says is down to Nicola Sturgeon who has made "mincemeat of education".

Harvie: Scottish government trying to mitigate Tory cuts

Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie says the Scottish government are too focused on performance figures rather than the attainment gap.

Mr Harvie says this is why the Scottish Greens pushed for more money for local authorities.

The Scottish Greens co-convener says that the Scottish government are trying to mitigate against cuts from the Westminster government and that it is impossible to cover all the cuts.

Audience members contribute to the debate

BBC Scotland Editor Sarah Smith asks for contributions from the audience.

Free tuition is raised by an audience member and another says that accommodation costs is another struggle for students and that they are having to rely on the "bank of mum and dad".

Rennie says Sturgeon's obsession with independence has let education down

Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie asks why it has taken so long for Nicola Sturgeon to act on the attainment gap.

Mr Rennie says Ms Sturgeon is so distracted by her obsession with independence she is letting education down.

The first minister says the responsibility for education is hers and her government.

Ms Sturgeon says more is being invested directly to head teachers.

She insists money is increasing to schools by £120m.

Davidson: 'There are a lot of things we have to do differently in schools'

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson says there are a lot of things we have to do differently in schools and that there must be honesty around what is not working.

Ms Davidson says the Scottish government's solution to poor results in schools is to take those results out of the performance statistics.

Background: Numeracy rate falls among pupils in Scotland, latest figures show

Numbers
Getty Images

Pupils in Scotland are doing less well in maths, according to the latest Scottish government figures.

Between 2013 and 2015, the proportion of P4 and S2 students performing "well or very well" fell.

Pupils from better off areas recorded better results than those from the most deprived communities.

The statistics feature in the latest Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy (SSLN) which is an annual sample monitoring national performance of school children at P4, P7 and S2 in literacy and numeracy.

Read more here.

'You've had 10 years' on education says Kezia Dugdale

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the Scottish government has been clear that it wants to close the attainment gap.

Ms Sturgeon says that the Scottish government will also protect free school meals, unlike the Westminster government.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale says "you've had ten years" on education.

"It's a scandal," she says.

It's a scandal."

Kezia DugdaleScottish Labour Party leader

Audience question on education

Question one
BBC

Paul Sinclair says the format does not suit Kezia Dugdale

Former Labour special adviser Paul Sinclair says the format does not suit Kezia Dugdale as it is the "Ruth and Nicola Show" and then there is "three anxious men" to deal with (David Coburn, Willie Rennie and Patrick Harvie).

Nicola Sturgeon did not mention independence says Campbell Gunn

Scottish government advisor Campbell Gunn says this election is supposed to be about Brexit.

Mr Gunn says that Nicola Sturgeon is being accused of being obsessed with independence and she didn't mention it once, but both Kezia Dugdale and Ruth Davidson did.

And now over to the spin room..........

BBC Scotland's Nick Eardley has been checking the reaction on social media

Alex Massie says Ruth Davidson is awkward defending UK government policy and is much more comfortable attacking Nicola Sturgeon.

Pundits in the spin room
BBC
Political pundits Alex Massie, Campbell Gunn and Paul Sinclair speak to Jackie Bird

Rennie says it's just one thing for the SNP

Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie says: "For the SNP it's always, always about independence."