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Hit Tories at the ballot box, urges Sturgeon after a close shave

© Wattie CheungNicola Sturgeon shaves barber Tony Cairney's beard at the Iconic Gents Hair in East Kilbride.
Nicola Sturgeon shaves barber Tony Cairney's beard at the Iconic Gents Hair in East Kilbride.

Nicola Sturgeon yesterday urged voters to ensure the Tories face the consequences of Partygate at next month’s council elections.

The first minister and SNP leader said she had encountered a “depth of anger” during the campaign following the issuing of fines to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie and Chancellor Rishi Sunak for breaking lockdown rules at the height of the country’s pandemic. Johnson is also facing claims he misled Parliament with his denials of Downing Street parties.

Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross initially demanded the resignation of Johnson over partygate, but is now backing him to stay as the West deals with the Ukrainian crisis.

The other parties have accused Sturgeon of trying to jemmy national issues into the local authority election campaign to divert attention from the SNP government’s failures to properly fund or support services provided by Scotland’s councils but she said: “We have a prime minister that is refusing to face any consequences for his own conduct.

“The serial breaching of rules, the repeatedly lying to Parliament about that, the shamefully disingenuous excuses that are being put forward to avoid him taking any consequences – people are really angry about that.

“If the Conservatives are not prepared to face the consequences and abide by the long-standing rules that govern our democratic system, then the only thing people can do is express that anger and express that view at the ballot box.”

Sturgeon also had a close shave with voters when she visited a barber shop in East Kilbride. She tweeted after shaving a barber’s beard off: “I’ve done some surreal things on the campaign trail over my many years in politics – this has to be right up there with the best – and scariest!”

Meanwhile, Scottish Labour have claimed that NHS Scotland is falling behind the health service in England under an SNP government.

At the end of last year 26.3% of patients in England waiting for a key diagnostic test had been waiting more than six weeks – but in Scotland the figure was 50.4%

Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “Our NHS staff are working day and night to do right by patients, but Scotland is still falling further and further behind on the SNP’s watch.

“The fact that they cannot even keep pace with this shambolic Tory government is a damning indictment of their record.”