LiveNicola Sturgeon SNP Conference RECAP: Sturgeon's closing speech | First Minister says “democracy must – and will – prevail” | Final day of party conference

Live coverage of Nicola Sturgeon’s closing speech at the SNP conference 2021.

Nicola Sturgeon gives her speech at the SNP conference.

Follow how the final day of the SNP Party Conference unfolded with our live updates from the First Minister’s closing speech.

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Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP Conference speech LIVE: Monday, September 13, 2021

Last updated: Monday, 13 September, 2021, 12:49

  • Final day of SNP conference
  • Sturgeon finishes speech with independence call
  • FM hopes the No.10 will co-operate for another referendum
  • Future of Scottish Valneva plant in Livingston uncertain

Sturgeon’s speech ends with call for independence

Ms Sturgeon concluded her speech to the SNP conference, saying: “As we emerge from the pandemic, decisions fall to be made that will shape Scotland for decades to come.

“So we must decide. Who should be making those decisions: people here in Scotland or governments we don’t vote for at Westminster.

“That is the choice we intend to offer the Scottish people in a legal referendum within this term of Parliament - Covid permitting, by the end of 2023.

“I said earlier that my approach to government and to politics will be, as far as possible, co-operation not confrontation. The experience of the pandemic and the challenges we face as a result reinforces my view that this is the right approach. “So it is in that spirit of co-operation that I hope the Scottish and UK governments can reach agreement - as we did in 2014 - to allow the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland to be heard and respected. “But, this much is clear. Democracy must - and will - prevail.”

Ms Sturgeon said: “Make no mistake, this summit represents the world’s best chance – probably our last chance – to limit global warming to 1.5C in line with the Paris Agreement.

“No one underestimates the scale of the challenge.

But no one should underestimate the impact on lives – particularly the lives of the world’s poorest – if we fail to meet this challenge.”

Ms Sturgeon also announced that the Scottish Government has agreed to fund the Conference of Youth in the run-up to Cop26, welcoming young people from up to 140 countries around the world.

She added: “We cannot allow the world’s children and young people to be silenced in Glasgow on an issue so vital to their future.”

Tories ‘taking food from children’s mouths'

Ms Sturgeon said: “In a few weeks’ time the Tories intend to cut Universal Credit by £20 per week. This will be the biggest overnight reduction to a basic rate of social security since the 1930s.

“It will affect millions across the UK - and hundreds of thousands here in Scotland. In Scotland alone it risks pushing 60,000 people - including 20,000 children - into the formal definition of poverty.

“Most of those affected are either in work or not able to work due to health or caring responsibilities. The loss of more than £1,000 a year will be utterly devastating.

“It will quite literally take food out of children’s mouths. It will drive people into debt and, in some cases, to destitution and despair.”

Sturgeon praises SNP-Green deal

“The times we are living through and the challenges we face demand a better way of doing politics. “That’s why after this election, instead of taking what might have been the easy option - to carry on as before - we decided to be bolder and seek co-operation with the Scottish Greens. “I am delighted that we were able to reach an agreement. It means a change of gear for our Parliament and our country.

“It means, after three terms of government, that the SNP is not resting on our laurels. Instead we are challenging ourselves in the interests of those we serve.

“And it means a renewed spirit of co-operation from two parties interested above all in changing our country, and the lives of everyone who lives here, for the better.”

FM ‘baffled’ by opposition parties

Ms Sturgeon said she is “utterly baffled” that Scotland’s opposition parties’ refusal to adapt policies “that voters have rejected time and again”.

“They are doubling down and expecting voters to adapt to them. These parties demonstrate no sign at all of learning the lessons or making the changes necessary to move from opposition to government.

“Which can lead to only one conclusion - they don’t aspire to be in government. Now, all of that may be good for the SNP. But it is bad for democracy,” she added. “On virtually every issue, we have opposition simply for the sake of opposition.”

FM to anti-Vaxxers: ‘Cease and Desist'

Ms Sturgeon told conference attendees: “To the small but noisy minority who knowingly spread fear and misinformation about vaccines, I say this - stop being selfish and irresponsible.

“Stop putting the health and well-being of the country at risk. It’s time to cease and desist.”

Sturgeon on pandemic in Scotland

Paying tribute to Scots, Ms Sturgeon said: “The collective, national effort over these past months has been nothing short of extraordinary.

“I am acutely aware of the sacrifices people have made and the hardships many are still enduring. I will never find the words to adequately express my gratitude.

“But that great national effort is needed still. To save lives and protect our NHS we must drive infections down again. The government must lead - but we need the help of every person and every business in Scotland.

“And vaccination is key. Getting vaccinated is the most precious gift any us can give our loved ones. It makes us and them so much safer.

“To the millions across the country who have rolled up their sleeves - thank you. To those who haven’t done so yet because you’re worried about things you’ve heard about vaccines, it’s not too late - please drop in to a clinic and speak to an expert.

“I’m confident they’ll put your mind at rest.”

FM criticises UK’s handling of Afghan crisis

“In Scotland,” she said, “we are committed to welcoming and supporting those fleeing the Taliban.

“The UK has a heavy responsibility, particularly to those who supported British interests over the past 20 years and now face mortal peril. They must not be abandoned.

“There must be a credible plan to bring each and every one to safety and security. And we also have a continued moral and humanitarian obligation to provide hope and support to those who remain, particularly those striving to preserve the progress of the last two decades.”

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