SNP gathers in Glasgow for autumn conference

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SNP members will gather in Glasgow today for the party’s autumn conference.

Thousands of people are expected to attend the three-day event, which includes a keynote address by Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday.

It follows what is thought to have been the biggest ever march in support of Scottish independence in Edinburgh on Saturday.

The rally, organised by All Under One Banner, was attended by tens of thousands of people.

All Under One Banner march
Pro-independence supporters march through Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

She is waiting until the terms of a deal for leaving the EU become clearer, but she also faces demands to back a “people’s vote” on such a deal to prevent a so-called hard Brexit.

The issues are expected to feature prominently, despite no formal debate on Brexit or independence due to take place on the conference floor.

Speaking ahead of the event, Deputy First Minister John Swinney instead sought to highlight ministers’ “world-leading examples of progressive policies”, including action on climate change, measures to tackle alcohol misuse, and ministers’ flagship commitment on childcare.

“Our record in Government is one of delivering for the people of Scotland: creating a fairer, more prosperous country with strength in our public services and fairness at the heart of what we do,” he said.

His comments follow criticism from the SNP’s opponents of its record in government, with Ms Sturgeon’s recent legislative programme labelled as “light on substance”.

Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said: “Despite all the rhetoric, the fact is that this conference will be dominated by all the things the SNP leadership don’t want to talk about.

“The omissions of indyref2 and the growth commission show just how divided the membership is.”

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said the growth commission had “attempt to reboot the failed economic case for independence” and failed.

Meanwhile, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said a new poll suggested the majority of SNP members back a new public vote on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

YouGov polling commissioned by the People’s Vote campaign and carried out last week found 89% of 665 members back such a vote, while 11% were opposed, he said.

“Nicola Sturgeon and her ministers have exhausted their excuse selection. Now that it’s clear the vast majority of SNP members want to have the final say on Brexit they can’t justify sitting on the fence any longer,” Mr Rennie said.

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