Alex Salmond defends Nicola Sturgeon’s new role
ALEX Salmond has defended the changes to his SNP Cabinet and ministerial team after he was accused of attempting to promote Scottish independence at the expense of the nation’s economy and health service.
• ‘Bad tempered’ first session of FMQs in new parliamentary session at Holyrood
• Opposition leaders accuse Alex Salmond of being ‘obsessed’ with independence
Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said the SNP leader had “downgraded” the ministerial post for the economy by handing Nicola Sturgeon the job of infrastructure secretary along with responsibilty for constitutional issues.
Ms Lamont claimed the First Minister was “out of touch and doesn’t care about jobs other than his own” following the reshuffle that also saw former infrastructure secretary Alex Neil appointed health secretary.
But Mr Salmond defended the SNP government’s record, comparing Ms Sturgeon’s performance as health secretary to the founder of the NHS and Labour politician Aneurin Bevan.
He said: “Nicola Sturgeon was the health secretary for five-and-a-half years, more than twice as long as anybody in the history of devolution, almost as long as Aneurin Bevan was in post, who founded the National Health Service, which is not a bad comparison since Nicola Sturgeon as health secretary restored the principle of his of health free at the point of need for the Scottish people.”
He said “every single member” of his government is focused on economic recovery and Mr Neil “epitomises the values of the National Health Service”.
Ms Lamont referred to an opinion poll which asked young people in Scotland about the issues they would raise with the First Minister, and said 68 per cent would ask him about jobs and the economy and only 5 per cent would ask about the constitution.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: East