Scottish debate RESULTS: Huge blow for Sturgeon as Express readers declare their winner

Scotland 'split down the middle' on election says Curtice

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The Scottish Parliament will dissolve and voters will elect 129 Members of Scottish Parliament (MSPs) on Tuesday, May 6, 2021. The leaders of the five largest parties in Scotland took to the stage on Tuesday to debate among themselves about the key issues facing the Scottish public.

The Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was joined by Anas Sarwar from Labour and Douglas Ross from the Scottish Conservatives.

Willie Rennie from the Lib Dems and Lorna Slater of the Scottish Greens also joined the BBC show.

The debate came amid an increasingly tense political climate in Scotland in the wake of no-confidence votes and the current leader of the Scottish National Party facing accusations claiming she breached the ministerial code.

And it seems this ongoing row has damaged confidence in the SNP leader.

According to a poll published on asking which politician won the Scottish election debate on March 30, readers were strongly in support of the Scottish Conservative candidate Douglas Ross.

In total, 62 percent of readers – or 2,748 people – believed Mr Ross won the debate.

Overall, 13 percent of respondents said they did not know who had won the debate while just 12 percent – 514 people- believed the Scottish National Party leader, putting her in third place.

The Scottish Labour candidate was put in third place with 11 percent of the vote.

The Liberal Democrats leader won two percent of the vote, compared to zero percent who supported Ms Slater.

The poll was open for 11 hours, from 9pm on Tuesday to 8am on Wednesday, March 31.

A total of 4,442 people responded to the question: “Who won the Scottish election debate tonight?”

The debate ignited Express readers to have their say in the comments, with one person saying the First Minister “looked and sounded stale, tired” while “Douglas Ross had excellent ding dong with Sturgeon and definitely came off best”.

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Another reader commented: “No one denies Kranki does her best, but her best is not good enough.”

They added: “Fooling the people into believing an independent Scotland would be a type of utopia. Only finding out the truth when it’s too late.”

One user said: “There was something fishy about all of Sturgeons arguments so come May I think I will give her a miss when I put my cross in the box.”

However, while one was critical of the SNP’s independence bid, they admitted the party will likely see a majority come May.

They wrote: “The SNP don’t have any opposition, neither does Sturgeon, that’s the reality, but whether they would get a majority vote to leave or not is another matter, personally I can’t believe the people of Scotland would be that reckless as to walk away from the rest of the UK.”

What happened in last night’s debate?

The Scottish First Minister leaned on her coronavirus pandemic performance and discussed a future independence vote.

She also singled out her dream opponent for the debate as Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

But Ms Sturgeon came under fire when she said she wanted to delay the referendum until “the crisis has passed”.

She said: “I’ll leave other people to judge if my focus has been on the pandemic or not over the past year. People have seen me literally every single day lead the country’s fight against Covid and I have literally spent almost every waking moment doing that.

“Recovery is not a neutral thing. So long as so many of the decisions lie in the hands of Boris Johnson and Westminster – that often the people of Scotland haven’t voted for, then the danger is we take the wrong decisions and go in the wrong direction just as we’ve been dragged out of the EU against our will.”

The ongoing row with Alex Salmond – who was not present at last night’s debate – was raised by Ms Sturgeon’s opponents.

Mr Salmond launched a new pro-independence party called Alba Party last week.

The party was registered with the Electoral Commission in January by retired TV producer Laurie Flynn and has now been formally launched by Mr Salmond.

Mr Salmond, 66, will stand in the Scottish parliament elections on May 6 and many political pundits believe his involvement in frontline politics will complicate support for the Scottish National Party, splitting pro-independence voters.

Conservative leader Douglas Ross galvanised his base repeating his promises of “no referendum” over and over.

He clashed with Ms Sturgeon the most, given his party’s aims to deprive her party of a majority and provide a “strong opposition” at Holyrood.

Mr Ross also used the topic of independence to try to attract hardcore unionists away from the Labour Party.

He has faced criticism however for stating he would not work with the SNP under any circumstances even to tackle climate change.

Labour candidate Anas Sarwar was recently elected as leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

The Labour Party has lost significant ground in Scotland in the past few years, particularly since the 2014 referendum vote.

Mr Sarwar sought to be seen as a reasonable alternative to both the SNP and the Conservatives.

The Green co-leader Lorna Slater struggled in her first televised debate according to political commentators.

The party typically provides an alternative to the SNP for pro-independence votes, but now with the emergence of the Alba Party, the Green Party is facing a tougher fight for votes.

The Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie spoke of past campaigns and said he did not want to repeat previous mistakes.

The party has long stood by its pro-European stance, with Scotland having voted to stay in the EU in 2016.

Mr Rennie used this stance to say another independence vote would be re-run off the back of Brexit.

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