Just in time for the weekend, here’s a look at the top 10 political must-reads from the last seven days:
1. SNP-Green deal: Holyrood’s new ‘coalition’
After months of talks the SNP and Scottish Greens announced their new partnership this week: which falls just short of being a formal coalition. Andy Philip takes a look at everything you need to know about the new arrangement and what it means for Scottish politics. Read his full story here.
2. Scotland hit with £36bn pandemic blow to finances
The country’s annual balance sheet revealed a 22.4% gap between revenue and spending this week, reflecting a brutal year for the economy. The GERS figures for 2020-2021 – it stands for Government Expenditure Review Scotland – also reveal the impact of North Sea oil and gas on Scotland’s finances. Read more here.
3. Scotland sets out bid to become ‘world leaders’ in women’s health
The Scottish Government has published the UK’s first women’s health plan, outlining actions on endometriosis and menopause. As Adele Merson reports, the government says there is a “clear need for wider systemic change” to ensure health and social care services meet the needs of all women.” Read Adele’s full story here.
4. Exams will return next spring, Scottish Government announces
National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher exams will be brought back in 2022, the Scottish Government said this week. Pupils and students will take formal assessments in spring of next year during the traditional exam period, if it is safe to do so. Read more here.
5. Douglas Ross: Scottish Conservative leader denies tweeting homophobic trope
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has denied his use of the term “anti-families” in a social media post was homophobic – as he criticised the new SNP-Green government partnership. As The Courier’s Political Editor Paul Malik reports, the Tories faced a fierce online backlash to Mr Ross’s comment. Read the full story here.
6. Boris Johnson rules out public inquiry into UK’s actions in Afghanistan
The Prime Minister has appeared to rule out the prospect of an independent formal inquiry into the UK Government’s conduct in Afghanistan. Boris Johnson told a packed House of Commons this week it is an “illusion” to think Britain alone could have prevented the collapse of the country after the US withdrew its forces. Read more here.
7. Alex Salmond’s Alba Party want to scrap the monarchy and make Scotland a republic
Alex Salmond’s Alba Party has revealed their manifesto agenda to be discussed at an upcoming party conference. As Rachel Amery reports, scrapping the monarchy and making Scotland a republic is one of the key policies. They also want to turn Faslane into a windfarm, and protect Culloden battlefield from developers. Read Rachel’s full story here.
8. Blunder by Justice Secretary Keith Brown leads to £110million prison delay mix-up
A blunder by Keith Brown led to the justice secretary incorrectly signalling that a new £110 million jail for the Highlands had been hit by fresh delays. As Calum Ross reports, the SNP minister got it wrong when he said earlier this month that the new HMP Highland would not be open until 2026 – two years later than expected. Read more here.
9. Tory MP wrongly claims Glasgow only Scottish council to house Syrian refugees
A Conservative MP has been urged to correct the parliamentary record after wrongly claiming this week only Glasgow had rehomed Syrian refugees in Scotland. In fact all 32 councils in Scotland took part in the resettlement scheme which was launched in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, with almost a fifth of refugees who came to the UK settling north of the border. Read the full story here.
10. Rail campaigner questions backing for A9 and A96 dualling
A rail campaigner has questioned an “extraordinary intervention” by leading public sector figures in support of dualing the A9 and A96 roads. Campaigner Ian Budd said there was “no question” trains offered the most “economical, efficient and least wasteful way to transport people and goods.” Mr Budd was responding after Highland civic leaders, senior NHS officials and academics demanded the Scottish Government keeps its promises to dual the A9 from Inverness to Perth, and the A96 from Inverness to Aberdeen. Read more here.