Analysis

How Kate Forbes enjoyed her shot in the hot seat as she tore into Douglas Ross on disastrous day for Tory leader

The Deputy First Minister had a field day at the expense of Douglas Ross as she filled in at FMQs.

Kate Forbes showed why she has always been considered a future leader – as she took apart Douglas Ross on a disastrous day for the Tory leader.

With John Swinney away for D-Day commemorations, Ms Forbes had a shot in the hot-seat at First Minister’s Questions (FMQs) on Thursday – a chair that could have been hers if she has challenged for the SNP leadership.

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Maybe today was time to bring up something sombre – the NHS waiting times. But Mr Ross, in a moment of madness, decided to draw attention to the North East through the oil and gas sector. What a mistake that turned out to be, given he had just announced he was going to stand for Westminster after-all in a brand-new North East seat.

He couldn’t resist asking the Deputy First Minister about the SNP’s muddled oil and gas position.

Ms Forbes insisted her party has been “absolutely crystal clear”. She remained calm, adamant the SNP would take it on a “rigorously evidence-led case-by-case basis” – and then came her first attack on Mr Ross.

Ms Forbes told MSPs the soon-to-be Westminster candidate doesn’t like “hard work to understand the evidence” as she ridiculed him for having “confessed” he assumed the Treasury had done the sums over Liz Truss’s disastrous mini-Budget.

Deputy First Minister of Scotland Kate Forbes (Photo by Lesley Martin/PA Images)Deputy First Minister of Scotland Kate Forbes (Photo by Lesley Martin/PA Images)
Deputy First Minister of Scotland Kate Forbes (Photo by Lesley Martin/PA Images)

Mr Ross was already on thin ice, but then pointed to warnings from Aberdeen business leaders the SNP opposing new licences “would put 100,000 jobs at risk”.

Ms Forbes had seen enough. “If Douglas Ross wants to back the North East, there’s some quite big questions for him”, she blasted, as the Tory leader looked sheepishly at the floor.

The Deputy First Minister pointed out it was “a day that he betrays a Conservative candidate in the North East”.

Not that Mr Ross needed a helping hand on a day he appears to have U-turned on standing at Westminster and binned off a candidate in his hospital bed. Ms Forbes gave him a final push.

Ms Forbes held her own throughout FMQs with a very polished performance. Maybe Mr Swinney could learn a thing or two.

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