SNP Westminster leader issues rallying call to Scots at party conference
The SNP’s Westminster leader has told Scots to “put trust in themselves”, as he opened the party conference in Aberdeen.
Mr Flynn was speaking as he addressed the annual gathering for the first time since replacing Ian Blackford last year.
Ahead of a key debate on the party’s approach to independence, Mr Flynn said: “The real choice at the general election actually boils down to this.
“The Westminster parties are asking the Scottish people to trust them to fix the unfixable – broken Brexit Britain.
“We are asking something different, and we are offering something deeply different.
“We are asking the Scottish people to put trust in themselves – to take powers and our future into our own hands.
“We are offering the opportunity to build a new, independent Scotland.”
Mr Flynn also painted the SNP as the “party of real change”, pitting it against a Labour Party currently ahead in UK polls.
“The powers we have, they limit our potential, and they are not nearly enough to meet the challenge of this cost-of-living crisis,” he said.
“I don’t know about you, but I for one am tired of this false debate that says we either focus on independence or on the cost-of-living crisis.
“The cost-of-living crisis is a direct consequence of the constitutional status quo.
“Unfair, unequal, broken, backwards, Brexit Britain is the very reason why people can’t pay their bills. It is a cost-of-Westminster crisis.”
He pointed to increased powers Scotland could have over energy, the economy, employment law, rejoining the EU and fighting poverty if it was an independent country.
“If you believe that independence is normal and needed now more than ever, then we are the party of real change,” he said.
“This is our vision. And its greatest strength is that it will always, always be bigger, bolder and beyond anything those parties backing Brexit Britain can ever offer.
“It is the unfinished business of the movement that has brought us all here.
“It is the real change that the Scottish people are crying out for.”
His address opened a decisive conference for the party, with a key decision due to be made on its approach to independence on Sunday afternoon.
A leadership motion before the conference says the party winning a plurality of seats in Scotland at the next election is enough to negotiate with Westminster to put the mandate into “democratic effect” – which could include a referendum.
Media reports suggest this could be changed to a majority of seats.
Mr Flynn also referenced the SNP’s significant by-election defeat in Rutherglen and Hamilton West as he pledged the “humbling” result will help the party “listen” to what Scots need ahead of the general election.
He said: “The truth is that this hasn’t been an easy few weeks for our party, let alone an easy few months.
“There is no point in denying it. That defeat was humbling. But here’s the thing. We might not like to admit it, but one of the great things about democracy is that it does that sometimes.
“It’s how you respond that matters. And when used right, democratic defeat is often the best way to renew your relationship with the people who matter most – the public.
“Each and every time the people have their democratic say, the only right response is to listen and to keep listening.
“The only right response to a humbling defeat is to be honest with ourselves and to be honest with the public.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub