Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross says it is “arrogant” of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to brand opponents “infantile” for challenging her government’s promises to improve infrastructure in the north and north-east.
The SNP leader made the comment on Thursday as she delivered a series of big-ticket pledges in her party’s manifesto for the May 6 election.
Launching his party’s infrastructure plans for the Holyrood election on Friday, he said: “If it’s not for opposition politicians to challenge a government after 14 years of failure then you get into a one-party state and if Nicola Sturgeon thinks that’s healthy for Scotland, I absolutely disagree.
“I think it smacks of a First Minister who has failed Scotland for seven years and who has been an integral part of the government at the highest level for 14 years.
“I think it is arrogant to the people of Scotland if Nicola Sturgeon does not think she should be challenged on her record, which has let down every part and every person in this country.”
We revealed on Thursday how the SNP aim to support rural or remote communities, including a plan to offer up to £50,000 in “island bonds” supporting young people and families to stay where population decline is a risk.
Opposition parties said previous commitments were missed and rural areas have been let down.
In response to criticism from opponents, Ms Sturgeon previously said: “It really is facile and infantile. We don’t have any government anywhere in the world that does everything it could ever possibly want to do or imagine doing on day one.
“Life is about progress, government is about progress. We have made significant progress over the past 14 years.
“Go back and look at health, education, across the economy, across infrastructure, particularly now we’ve built 100,000 affordable homes. The commitment at this election is another 100,000 homes.
“In the past four years we have created nine times, proportionately, the number of houses for social rent in Scotland than have been in England – so we’ve made progress.”
But Mr Ross, who said his party would provide details of their “fully-costed manifesto” on Monday, told journalists Ms Sturgeon’s remarks show her “mind is not on delivering for Scotland”.
He added: “Her mind is yet again obsessed with another independence referendum at all costs rather than actually delivering for people.
“On drugs deaths, she’s accepted taking her eye off the ball, on education she told us it was to be her number one priority and she’s clearly let down young people across Scotland because that’s never been her number one priority.”