SNP beginning ‘new chapter’, Swinney says

The new First Minister said the SNP will work to build a ‘modern, diverse, dynamic Scotland’.

John Swinney was sworn in as First Minister on May 8
John Swinney was sworn in as First Minister on May 8 (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The SNP is beginning a “new chapter” with hope and optimism at its heart, First Minister John Swinney has said.

Mr Swinney, who was sworn in as Scotland’s new First Minister on Wednesday, said the country has all it takes to be “hugely successful”.

However, he said that progress is being hindered by “damaging decisions” taken at Westminster such as Brexit.

SNP leader Mr Swinney is joining Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart and party activists in Perth on Saturday to campaign locally.

Mr Swinney said: “This week marks a new chapter for the SNP – we are united in delivering the very best for Scotland.”

He said the party has “hope and optimism at its heart”, adding: “Scotland has everything it takes to be a hugely successful country and our people want their politicians to do everything in their power to make that happen. That’s what they get from the SNP.

“Even with the limited powers of devolution, SNP policies have been transforming lives across our country and my SNP government will continue that work to make a real difference to the lives of people in Scotland.

“However, it’s clear the progress the SNP is making for Scotland is being hindered by damaging decisions taken at Westminster like Brexit.

“At the general election, the SNP is the only party who will stand up for Scotland at Westminster and the only party offering a positive vision for the future of our people – in stark contrast to the Tories and Labour, who expect Scotland to continue paying the price for Westminster’s failures.”

Mr Swinney said that, under his leadership, the SNP will continue to take actions to build a “modern, diverse, dynamic Scotland”.

He said that in doing so “we will demonstrate that our future is best served when decisions about Scotland are made in Scotland”.

John Swinney during his debut First Minister’s Questions as First Minister on May 9
John Swinney during his debut First Minister’s Questions as First Minister on May 9 (Lesley Martin/PA)

A UK Government spokesperson said: “People in Scotland want both their governments to be concentrating on the issues that matter most to them, like growing our economy, further reducing inflation and improving public services.

“We want to work constructively with the Scottish Government to tackle our shared challenges because that is what families and businesses in Scotland expect.

“This is not the time to be talking about distracting constitutional change.”

Scottish Conservative chairman Craig Hoy MSP said: “It will be a surprise to no-one that John Swinney will continue to push the SNP’s separation fixation and live up to his title as continuity leader.

“His reheated Government will happily choose to sow division across Scotland by focusing on the one issue the scandal-ridden SNP can agree on.

“In typical SNP fashion, John Swinney, like his predecessors, would rather point fingers at the UK Government than take ownership of their abject failings to deliver the public’s real priorities.

“This is why the SNP must be defeated and, in key seats across Scotland, only the Scottish Conservatives are in a position to do that.”

Scottish Labour have been asked for comment.