‘Clear choice’ between Westminster control and independence, SNP conference told

The SNP depute leader took aim at the Tories and Labour as he addressed party members in Aberdeen.

The SNP’s depute leader told his party conference to make a “clear choice” between Westminster control and Scottish independence as he took aim at opposition parties.

Keith Brown opened his keynote speech in Aberdeen by leading a standing ovation to former first minister Nicola Sturgeon and her former deputy John Swinney.

But he then described current boss Humza Yousaf as the “best political leader” who had set international examples on how to rule.

Mr Brown also praised his party’s new independence strategy, which, led by Mr Yousaf, was voted through at conference on Sunday.

It will see the party begin immediate negotiations with Westminster if the SNP wins a majority of seats north of the border at the general election.

Independence, he told delegates, was essential to break from the status quo, as he took aim at the “change” offered by Sir Keir Starmer, arguing the Labour leader was not “famed for consistency”.

“They will do nothing different from the Tories and we have to get that message across as we go into the next election,” he told conference at the Event Complex Aberdeen (Teca).

“And if that reality is the prospect for people in Scotland, we have to tell them what the alternative is – what the hope is for families, communities and businesses who are now and have been for many months, been really struggling.”

He added: “If we want to be out of an isolated, austerity-obsessed Brexit Britain, then the only answer can be independence.

“That won’t happen by itself. We have work to do. The next election in Scotland will be a clear choice between that Westminster control, the ugly twins of dismal futures in Labour and the Tories – but we have to make sure that the people of Scotland realise that they can escape the chaos of Westminster mismanagement.”

However, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Despite a biting cost-of-living crisis and our NHS teetering on the edge of yet another winter crisis, the only thing on the mind of the SNP leadership is a fantasy referendum that the majority of Scots simply do not want.

“While the nationalists scramble to shore up their falling popularity and flagging membership, Liberal Democrats are on the rise, crackling with ideas for bringing down bills and getting people the healthcare they need close to home.”

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