Nicola Sturgeon rivals blast FM’s Green backing

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's backing of the Green Party in England has bee described as 'bizarre' by one rival MSP. Picture: PA

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's backing of the Green Party in England has bee described as 'bizarre' by one rival MSP. Picture: PA

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FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been challenged to explain why she has called on English voters to back a party which would potentially “risk Scotland’s economy” by ending the oil and gas industry and shipbuilding and hitting the whisky industry with punitive taxes.

In a speech at the London of School of Economics this week the SNP leader urged English voters to back the Greens and said that is how she would vote if she lived south of the Border.

She told the audience: “If you live in England I think there is an argument for voting Green.”

She then added: “If I was living in England I would probably be looking at voting Green.”

But the English Greens, who Ms Sturgeon had previously said she wants to form a “progressive alliance” with, have major policies which includes “[halting] the exploitation of ‘extreme fossil fuels’”.

The Greens also want to cancel the UK’s orders for warships which would bring an end to shipbuilding and maintenance work on the Clyde and at Rosyth which keeps the shipbuilding industry alive.

The Green policy page on the website states: “On inspection, there is little or no threat of direct invasion of the UK by any nation.

“Commitment to a large standing army, a navy of large warships around our coastline, squadrons of fighter planes and a cripplingly expensive missile defence system is therefore unnecessary.”

On whisky, the Greens’ policy is to end alcohol advertising and increase duties. The party also wants to legalise cannabis.

It would also end alcohol sponsorship of major sporting events and teams like the Johnny Walker Classic golf tournament.

The website states: “The Green Party would also introduce a complete ban on the promotion of tobacco and alcohol products, including sponsorship, advertising (direct or indirect) and product placement on remuneration or reward.”

At a time when the whisky industry is trying to get a tax reduction, the Greens have promised to raise them.

The policy page says: “The effect on consumption of taxation on the sale of tobacco and alcohol would be subject to continued review and, where appropriate, these legal drugs would be taxed at a higher rate than at present.”

The Green’s opposition to expanding airports and hike fuel duties for aeroplanes could also hit tourism, Scotland’s third biggest industry.

And under Green policy, the Royal Bank of Scotland could remain nationalised and turned into “the People’s Bank”.

The policy document states: “A Green government would retain ownership of nationalised banks and direct these to create a permanent and genuinely national bank out of one or more of the currently ‘nationalised’ banks.”

The policy states: “Under a green taxation system, national insurance will be abolished as a separate entity and merged into general income tax. The distinction between ‘earned’ and ‘unearned’ income will no longer be used to determine different methods of taxation.”

Finally, the Greens want to legalise brothels and liberalise hardcore pornography.

The policy document states: “The Green Party believes that the law should not seek to regulate consensual sexual activities between adults where those do not affect others.

“Where there are such effects, a balance must be reached. Adults should be free to do as they wish with their own bodies, and to practice whatever form of sexual activity they wish by themselves or with each other by mutual consent.

“This includes the freedom not only to engage in such sexual acts, but also to be photographed or filmed doing so, to make such images available to other adults with their consent, and to be able to view such images.

“That someone might receive payment for any of these activities should not affect this freedom.”

Shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran accused Ms Sturgeon of “risking the Scottish economy” for political reasons.

She said: “We now know the real extent of Nicola Sturgeon’s ‘anyone but Labour’ strategy.

“She’s willing to tell people in England to support a party that would end Scottish shipbuilding, harm our whisky industry and put a stop to our oil and gas industry and all the jobs that go with it.

“Not only is she willing to make a Tory decade more likely, she’s palling up with a party that would risk Scotland’s economy and harm the livelihoods of people who live and work here.”

The Tories described Ms Sturgeon’s political choices as “bizarre”.

Jackson Carlaw, deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives said: “Nicola Sturgeon’s support for the Green party in England is a bizarre stance.

“This is a party which wants to end Scotland’s oil industry, hike taxes on whisky, legalise drugs and ban airports from any expansion.

“The only thing the two parties have in common is a fantasy economic strategy which is utterly unaffordable.

“We said when she took over that Nicola Sturgeon would turn out to be Scotland’s most left-wing First Minister. Her support for the anti-growth Green party shows exactly where on the political spectrum she lies.”

But an SNP spokesperson said: “This is desperate stuff from the Westminster parties - it shows just how panicked they are. Nicola Sturgeon obviously stands for the policies and manifesto of the SNP, not any other party.

“Where we can find common cause with other parties to end Westminster’s obsession with austerity, of course we will do so in the interests of people in Scotland and indeed the rest of the UK.”

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