Angela Constance lashes out at panelist interrupting her
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The SNP’s drug policy minister Angela Constance lost it when Scottish Conservative Oliver Mundell attempted to ask her a question on Scotland’s drug deaths. In 2020, 1,339 people died from drugs – continuing an upward trajectory in recent years and setting a new record – prompting newly appointed drugs minister Angela Constance to describe the figures as Scotland’s “national shame”. In a heated debate on the statistics, Ms Constance said the SNP “own this”.
She said: “Point number one, we own this. I’m not in the business of denial.
“We will be led by the evidence and one of the reasons that we now have an all government all Scotland response to the rise in drugs deaths is that there isn’t one solution, they are many.
“We need all of the above. You have had many suggestions tonight, in and around investment in education and prevention, we do need to make our criminal justice system more effective, smarter, humane.
“We need to address poverty and inequality and to be blunt we need to get more of our folk to the treatment they need and we need to do that quicker.”
As Mr Mundell attempted to ask the minister a question, Ms Constance continued: “I’m old enough to be your mother, don’t interrupt.”
It comes as Douglas Ross has hailed the Scottish Conservatives as the “party of working Scotland” as he put drug deaths and local government at the heart of a speech.
Scottish party leader Mr Ross appealed to working-class voters in a speech at a fringe event at the Tory conference in Manchester on Sunday.
He accused First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of turning the Scottish Government into a “subsidy of Yes Scotland” and claimed the government was a “constitutional campaign group on stilts” focused on independence above all else.
Douglas Ross slams Sturgeon over SNP’s drug laws
Mr Ross also highlighted Scotland’s drug deaths crisis, which he claimed would be Ms Sturgeon’s “legacy”.
He said: “An independence referendum won’t add another day of good health to anyone’s life.
“While they talk, we will act. That’s why we’re introducing a Right to Recovery Bill, to tackle the drugs scandal that will be Nicola Sturgeon’s legacy.
“Every year she has been First Minister, drug deaths have gone up, to the highest level in Europe.”
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The Right to Recovery Bill states it would allow anyone seeking addiction treatment “to quickly access their preferred treatment option, unless a medical professional deems it would be harmful to the individual”.
Mr Ross also said the party, which has 31 MSPs, would also bring forward “Mackay’s Law”, which would change rules so MSPs who do not attend Holyrood for six months are forced to stand down.
Former SNP finance secretary Derek Mackay, who resigned from government after the Scottish Sun revealed he was messaging a teenage boy, was paid £100,000 while “hiding at home” and not in parliament, Mr Ross said.
Mr Ross added that his party will also introduce a “Local Government Powers and Protection Bill” to put more power in the hands of councils.
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