Nicola Sturgeon spokesman: Vote for budget or face wrath of ‘ordinary Scots’

Opposition parties will face the wrath of "ordinary Scots" if they vote down Holyrood's budget at a time of "maximum" Brexit turmoil, a spokesman for Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 2:32 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 2:40 pm
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon prepares to make a statement (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP)ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images

And he refused to be drawn on the prospect of a snap election if the Scottish Government's spending plans are voted down this week.

There was also a stark warning that frontline funding for schools and hospital could be "jeopardised" after all opposition parties at Holyrood warned they will not support Finance Secretary Derek Mackay's 2019/20 budget in a crunch vote this week.

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Derek Mackay is holding budget talks with opposition parties

The First Minister's spokesman said the SNP minority Government is still intent on "getting a deal done."

He added: "It's imperative that we do see progress on the budget because this (rejecting the budget) would be - at a time of the maximum amount of Brexit uncertainty - unconscionable."

The vote on Thursday is only stage 1 of the budget process. The only time a budget has ever been previously rejected was at Stage 3 when the then First Minister threatened to call an election before it was passed a week later. Senior Nationalist MSPs Bruce Crawford and Gillian Martin have both raised the possibility of a snap election if the budget falls. Ms Sturgeon's spokesman refused to be drawn on the prospect today.

"We're intent talking right through today. Derek (Mackay) has a series of meetings and they will continue through tomorrow and into part of Thursday.

"There's potential for agreement to be reached but we're not there yet.

"We can't control how the opposition vote. We're intent on passing the budget and I think people across Scotland will be astonished if the they see opposition parties playing political games and jeopardising frontline funding for schools and hospitals and everything else."

As well as the budget, MSPs are also required to pass a tax resolution which would allow taxes to be "properly collected", the spokesman added.

"With that in mind and the very, very real concern there would be over public services, ordinary people would be absolutely astonished if a solution wasn't found to this."