Scotland politics

General election 2017: Sturgeon hails SNP's 'decade of delivery'

Nicola Sturgeon Image copyright EPA
Image caption Ms Sturgeon met SNP activists in the shadow of the new Forth crossing

Nicola Sturgeon has hailed the SNP's "decade of delivery" as she marked the 10th anniversary of her party coming to power.

The first minister said Scotland was now "leading the UK" with its progressive policies.

But she admitted that the SNP had not got everything right over the past decade.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said the anniversary marked a "missed opportunity".

And she said the Scottish government could have achieved much more "if they hadn't spent so much time trying to rip Scotland out of the UK".

Ms Sturgeon was marking the 10th anniversary of her predecessor Alex Salmond becoming first minister on 16 May 2007.

Speaking to SNP activists in South Queensferry, she said the country had "come a long way" since then.

She added: "The SNP has only reached the milestone of 10 years in government because we have worked hard - each and every day - to repay the trust of the people of Scotland and deliver on their priorities.

"I know we are not perfect. We haven't got everything right and there is much more work still to do - work to grow our economy, get more people into employment and drive up standards in our schools even further.

"But we can be proud in Scotland that when it comes to progressive policies, we are leading the UK."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ruth Davidson visited a bakery as she campaigned in Dumfries ahead of the election

Ms Sturgeon was speaking shortly after Labour launched its manifesto for next month's general election, which she said "directly lifts policies that the SNP is already delivering" including free university tuition, ending hospital parking charges, and the abolition of the so-called Bedroom Tax.

Meanwhile, she said the Tories "who for years have mounted ideological attacks on policies as diverse as free prescriptions and council house building have now - albeit belatedly and with little credibility - decided that they are both a good thing".

The SNP leader said: "They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But in this case the imitation shown by both Labour and the Tories is anything but sincere.

"The fact is that they have had the chance to back the SNP's progressive policies - but instead they opposed them tooth and nail."

However, opposition parties insisted the SNP's record in government had proven to be a "disappointment".

Ms Davidson, who was campaigning in Dumfries ahead of the 8 June general election, said the country's school were "going backwards" and its economy was "one quarter away from recession, whilst the rest of the UK is growing."

The Tory leader added: "I think people, if they stop and think about a Scottish government that's got more powers than any previous Scottish government, that's got a bigger budget than any previous Scottish government, what they could have done in 10 years if they hadn't spent so much time trying to rip Scotland out of the UK and continuing to do so.

"There will be people in Scotland thinking it is a real missed opportunity."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn formally launched Labour's election manifesto in Bradford

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said people were "getting tired of the SNP and all their promises".

He argued: "They haven't been anywhere near as good as many of their supporters had hoped back in 2007. They have let education drift down the international rankings. Literacy has tumbled. They have turned their back on transformative investment.

"In the NHS, young people still have to wait up to 600 days to get the mental health treatment they need. The Scottish economy is on the edge of recession.

"All this is because SNP ministers have been distracted by their obsession with independence."

Meanwhile, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has described her party's UK manifesto as "a radical vision for the country".

Ms Dugdale said that while the SNP "has done nothing to stop austerity", Labour's proposals would redistribute wealth across the UK.

She added: "A Labour vision for our country is one where the rich and the powerful pay their fair share.

"Labour's manifesto gives voters a real choice: a fairer Scotland for the many, not the few; or a Scotland caught between the two extremes of Tory and SNP nationalism."