The Scottish election campaign was suspended on Friday as a mark of respect after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip and following another busy week for the country’s political parties.
In the last week voters have been given more details of the election manifesto pledges from political parties, both the Alba Party and All for Unity have held online press conferences in a bid to reach out to prospective voters, and three polls predicted the potential outcome of the May 6 Holyrood election.
Our own politics team launched a raft of exciting new innovative digital projects including our Election Hub, a dedicated part of our websites where you can find the latest digital journalism about the campaign.
Monday also saw the launch of Election Hub Live, our daily interactive politics newscast, which streams the latest news live on our Press & Journal and Courier websites and Facebook channels, and is already delivering agenda-setting stories to our audiences.
Here’s a look at the top 10 political must-reads from the last week.
- Prince Philip death: Campaigning in the Holyrood election was halted on Friday after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, aged 99. Paul Malik spoke to politicians from across Dundee, Angus, Perth and Kinross, and Fife who have come together in tribute to the late Duke of Edinburgh. Read his report, here.
2. Housing fund runs out: Young people hoping to get on the housing ladder had a brief opportunity in the last week, when an £80 million government fund to give affordable deposits to first time buyers opened for applications. But just eight days later the money had run out, and the scheme closed ahead of schedule. Read Calum Ross‘ exclusive here.
3. Douglas Ross on Election Hub Live: This week marked the launch of our new election newscast streamed live every afternoon at 2pm during the campaign. The stand-out interview from our first week was undoubtedly a polite yet bruising interview between our Head of Politics David MacDougall and Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross. Derek Healey reports on Mr Ross’ refusal to set out any democratic route to Scottish independence, here.
4. Calls for long Covid support: Adele Merson spoke with Helen Goss whose eight-year-old daughter has been too sick to return to school one year since catching coronavirus. Alexander Burnett, Scottish Conservative candidate for Aberdeenshire West, is calling on the Scottish Government to provide official guidance on extra education support for children with long Covid. Adele’s report can be accessed here.
5. Alex Salmond branded ‘utter disgrace’ over Russia comments: An extraordinary radio interview dominated headlines after the former first minister appeared to downplay actions by the Russian government. Mr Salmon, whose television programme aired on Kremlin-backed station RT, was branded an “utter disgrace” after he said that “contested” evidence had been put forward about the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury in 2018. Read Derek Healey’s take on events, here.
Evidence came forward that was contested.
Alex Salmond on the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.
6. George Galloway launches All for Unity manifesto: Provocative claims were the order of the day at the virtual launch of George Galloway’s new unionist party. Namely that Scottish independence could lead to the redrawing of territorial boundaries in Scotland, in the event that some regions vote no. Andy Philip was our man at the launch and you can read what happened, here.
It may be with Edinburgh, the financial sector, Aberdeenshire with its fishing, with its farming, its oil-related activities, might very well begin to demand in a way that might become unstoppable that they did not want to become part of a separate Scottish state dominated by the central belt.
George Galloway, All for Unity
7. Nicola Sturgeon claims Tories face challenge appealing to north-east voters and fisherman “betrayed by Brexit: The first minister told journalists that she believes the Scottish Conservatives face a challenge in convincing north-east voters who may have voted in favour of leaving the EU in 2016. She claimed the “utter betrayal” of the fishing industry would have an impact on the Scottish Conservative vote. Read Paul Malik’s report here.
8. Polls, polls, polls: This was the week that three new polls dropped on the projected outcome of next month’s Holyrood election. Each showed differing outcomes for May 6, with two polls released in the same day on Thursday, one showing a majority for the SNP and one predicting the party will fall just one seat short. To find out more, read Adele Merson’s summary, here.
9. Rising political stars: Calum Ross is the journalist behind our celebrated Generation Next series, which was first published in October. This week he took a look at some of the budding politicians who featured in the project who have thrown their hat in the ring for the Holyrood election on May 6. Read more, here.
10. Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh faces legal hearing: The Alba Party candidate is due to appear at a legal hearing just days after the Holyrood election next month, Calum Ross reports. An Alba Party spokesman told our reporter the Law Society tribunal hearing relates to “historic matters” dating back 10 years to a legal firm which Ms Ahmed-Sheikh left in 2015.
Bonus: The latest episode of The Stooshie discusses the latest Holyrood election polling, the campaign and the Scottish Government’s flagship First Home Fund running out of cash.
In a special edition, @davieclegg and @fodonnell23 explain their promises to you as their teams help you make an informed decision in May. On the agenda: independence, tribalism, social media, and the little matter of why local journalism matters.
— The Stooshie – the politics podcast from Scotland (@stooshiescot) April 7, 2021
We also published a special episode in conversation with the editors of The Courier and the Press & Journal who discussed our own election manifesto which details how we pledge to help you make an informed decision this May.