Daily roundup: Scottish Conservatives, 5 April

scotcon2The Scottish Conservatives yesterday promised to introduce locally elected police Commissioners. Speaking outside Selkirk police station, John Lamont, Scottish Conservative Justice Spokesperson and candidate for Ettrick, Roxburgh & Berwickshire, said:

“Scottish Conservatives forced the SNP Government to put 1,000 extra police on our street. The SNP had tried to deliver a mere 500 and Labour promised none whatsoever. We delivered those 1,000 extra police and we are committed to retaining those extra officers in the next parliament.

“But we can do more. The public want to feel a real connection with their police. We need local accountability for local people. Because we are committed to local policing and local accountability, we will replace Police Boards with elected local Police Commissioners, each covering a local area.

“Giving people democratic control of the police is a huge step forward, but it is not enough. We need to give local people the information and direct powers they need to challenge their neighbourhood police teams to cut crime.”

And, on the day the Scottish Liberal Democrats launched their manifesto, Derek Brownlee, Scottish Conservative Finance Spokesperson, challenged them to publish their spending plans before anyone would believe anything they say.

Mr Brownlee, Scottish Conservative said:

“At our manifesto launch we produced a comprehensive 50 page document costing all our plans over the next four years. The word ‘costing’ only appears in the Lib Dem manifesto once.

“The Lib Dems may be in partnership with the Conservatives in the UK Government but this is just not a credible manifesto for Holyrood. Even on issues where the Lib Dems apparently agree with us – such as ending automatic early release from jails – we must ask them why they voted against our efforts to stop this in the past?

“In these tough economic times, people want political parties to show them the money. We did it in our manifesto but there is just no evidence of that today from the Scottish Lib Dems. They must publish the details of their spending plans, or no one will believe anything they say.”

Finally, Murdo Fraser, Scottish Conservative Health Spokesperson, yesterday criticised SNP plans to push on with minimum alcohol pricing despite their defeat in the previous parliamentary session.

“The SNP are not living in the real world,” Mr Fraser said, “Everyone knows Scotland has a drink problem and we urgently need to tackle it. But the SNP’s indiscriminate blanket minimum pricing, which had no evidence base, would have penalised responsible drinkers, harmed the Scotch whisky industry, cost jobs and was probably illegal. It was never the answer and that is why the other main parties at Holyrood did not support it.

“We believe that the tax and duty system has a major part to play in increasing the price of problem drinks, and will continue to work in the next parliament to achieve this. Rather than posturing, the SNP should work with the other parties to find real and practical solutions that will make a difference.”