NICOLA STURGEON suffered an intense grilling by BBC host Nicky Campbell as he confronted the Scottish First Minister on her country’s “depressing” crime and health figures.
The SNP leader was confronted over the “depressing” number of murders and drug-related deaths and in Scotland by the BBC Radio 5 Live host. Nicola Sturgeon has repeatedly blamed the Conservatives for the state of the NHS in Scotland and the crime rates in the country. But BBC’s Nicky Campbell promptly pointed out to the Scottish leader that her party has actually been in power in Scotland for 13 years now and she should take responsibility once and for all.
Mr Campbell blasted: “On the subject of the health of the people of Scotland, some of these figures are so depressing.
“The country’s drug deaths rate is now nearly three times that of the UK as a whole.
“Higher than that reported for any other EU country – I think Estonia is second in the table.
“The rest of the UK quite a bit further down. More than 70,000 drug deaths in the US in 2017 but the rate of 270 per million of the population is marginally lower than Scotland’s rate.
“Obesity, terrible figures, smoking, depressing figures right at the top of the British league. And the murder rate, there were 11 homicides in Renfrewshire in 2017 to 2018 – for example murder rate at 4.3 per 100,000, ahead of New York, ahead of London.
“Perhaps properly the thing that’s been pointed out is that any government that has been in for a long time – and I’ve heard you blaming the Tories for the social problems, that they’ve been in for ten years and not done anything about it – you’ve been in for 13 years!”
The Scottish leader replied: “Firstly, on your points about the murder rate, violent crime is at our 40-year-plus low in Scotland right now.
“Crime in generally is at our 40-plus-year low. Violent crime has reduced since in the period we’ve been in office.
“I think faster than crime in general.
“That’s not complacency, we need to continue to drive those figures down.”
Speaking during the Sunday evening’s ITV election debate, the Scottish First Minister said that in Scotland £136 more is spent per head on health than elsewhere in the UK.
During the debate, Ms Sturgeon was attacked by Tory representative Rishi Sunak who accused her of being wrong to claim the Prime Minister would not negotiate a new withdrawal agreement and warned that a Labour government supported by the SNP would lead to further political division from another Scottish independence referendum.
Ms Sturgeon responded by repeatedly challenging Mr Sunak about whether he could guarantee that there would not be a no-deal Brexit at the end of the next year if a trade deal had not been negotiated.
She added: “The biggest con in this election is the slogan from the Tories that if they win this election Brexit gets done.
“We only move into the next – and probably more chaotic – part of the process, and of course a no-deal Brexit would be back on the horizon next year.”
Mr Sunak replied: “We already have a deal to leave the European Union and of course we will finalise the details next year.
“The point is we are talking about the future and we can only get to that future and move on if we actually first respect the result of the referendum and leave.”