FMQs: Leonard Calls for Robison To Be Sacked

Parliament is back in session, and so is the Robin’s FMQ’s roundup. This week was dominated by two things: Cambridge Analytica and NHS Tayside.

Ruth Davidson and Nicola Sturgeon exchanged a lot of sound and fury, each strenuously denying their party’s involvement with Cambridge Analytica while accusing their opponents. This comes off the back of the news that an SNP staffer was sent to meet with Cambridge Analytica, a fact that was disclosed to a rather bemused SNP MP in a parliamentary committee at Westminster. Ruth Davidson however was also on shaky grounds, as Nicola Sturgeon read out a list of people at CA with close connections to the Conservative Party, including a former Scottish Conservative chairman.

Richard Leonard led on the disaster at NHS Tayside, asking the First Minister whether she disagreed with the assessment of the head auditor that warnings about the health board’s financial position had been repeatedly ignored. Sturgeon defended her health secretary, but the Scottish government is clearly running out of excuses.

Cuts to make up for fiddling the books at NHS Tayside are expected to exceed £200 million over the next five years, making an already chronic situation worse. That it is in Shona Robison’s own backyard makes the whole situation even more contentious.

Speaking at FMQs, Richard Leonard said:

“The situation at NHS Tayside did not come as a surprise to anyone who was paying attention.

“Year after year the health board sought a bailout, year after year Audit Scotland warned that this was not sustainable, and year after year your government has been in denial about the scale of the problem.

“Now, between repaying loans, repaying the endowment fund and finding other “efficiency savings” NHS Tayside needs to make over £200 million worth of cuts over the next five years.

“This will mean even longer waiting times and even more cancelled operations for the people of Tayside.

“We have a health board raiding charity funds to pay the bills and that is after fiddling the accounts.

“And what makes this worse is that this is all happening in Tayside under the nose of the Health Secretary who is a member of this Parliament for Dundee.

“It is too late for Shona Robison to be an honest broker in the NHS Tayside affair.

“The First Minister should reflect on this and face up to the fact that the time has come for the Health Secretary to go.”

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