SNP FINANCE SCANDAL: The Scottish public deserve answers

First Minister Humza Yousaf, Labour leader Anas Sarwar and Conservative Douglas Ross.

By Lucy Ashton

First Minister Humza Yousaf today rejected a request for a parliamentary statement on the SNP finance scandal.

At FMQs, Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross urged the SNP to be transparent and said there were “legitimate questions” that the Scottish public deserve answers to.

But Humza Yousaf dodged the question of a parliamentary statement, which would allow opposition MSPs to question the First Minister.

Douglas Ross also raised sentencing guidelines brought in under the SNP Government which allow criminals under the age of 25 to dodge jail, citing a recent rape case.

He demanded that the SNP change sentencing guidelines so that every rapist goes to jail.

Douglas Ross said: “The First Minister is now the SNP’s treasurer.  So while this is still a party matter, it is also now a government matter if the First Minister is compromised, if his hands are tied, if the party of government is about to go bankrupt, or if he himself may be involved in the police investigation.

“There are legitimate questions that the Scottish public deserve answers to.  Rules of the Scottish Parliament prevent me from asking crucial questions about the scandal over the SNP’s finances.

“Humza Yousaf must be transparent and bring forward a parliamentary statement so he can face scrutiny on the financial scandal engulfing the party of government in Scotland.

“The SNP’s secret Scotland must end. Humza Yousaf cannot continue to cover up the truth and hush up scandals, as his predecessors did.”

On sentencing guidelines, Douglas Ross said:“The SNP must abandon the guidelines they allowed to be introduced that give criminals under the age of 25 more lenient sentences.

“The very worst criminals belong in jail but right now, many of them are avoiding a prison sentence because of the sentencing guidelines.  The problem is not any one judge’s decision – it is the system.

“Humza Yousaf must answer why it is acceptable in SNP-run Scotland for any rapist to avoid jail?

“The SNP’s justice system is broken. The First Minister should focus on fixing it.”

Speaking following FMQs Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said “The SNP is responsible for sixteen years of command and control, financial mismanagement and a complete lack of transparency.

“This isn’t just how they have governed their party – it’s how they govern the country.

“We have an ongoing ferry crisis, £200 million over budget with no ferries in sight.

“For islanders cancelled ferries mean missed cancer appointments, a lack of supplies coming in, produce not able to get out, and businesses going to the wall.

“Six years ago, Humza Yousaf as Transport Minister made a promise to fix this but this Government has failed to get a grip and its financial mismanagement has cost us hundreds of millions of pounds.

“This can’t wait for more years of Government failure – this is impacting the lives of islanders right now.

“Businesses are failing right now, millions of pounds are being lost right now, exports are stuck right now, and people need support right now.

“This is no fresh start – Humza Yousaf has served in Government for over a decade.

“A failed Transport Minister, with hundreds of millions of pounds wasted on ferries that have never sailed.

“A failed Justice Secretary, with millions of pounds wasted on botched prosecutions and court delays.

“A failed Health Secretary, with over £300 million wasted on delayed discharge while people wait to get lifesaving treatment.

“And just three weeks in, a failed First Minister bogged down in scandal, unable to lead and completely out of touch with the priorities of the people of Scotland.

“Now, as acting SNP Treasurer, he needs to explain why Scots are still paying the price for SNP failure.”

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