NICOLA Sturgeon has sent congratulations to Rishi Sunak on his appointment as Prime Minister and promised to try to ‘build a constructive working relationship’ with the new Conservative leader.
However, the prime minister urged him to “call early parliamentary elections” and rule out “a new round of austerity”.
Taking to Twitter shortly after Penny Mordaunt pulled out of the competition to replace Liz Truss, Ms Sturgeon said: “Congratulations to Rishi Sunak – I wish him well and despite our political differences I will do my best to establish a constructive working relationship with him for the benefit of those we serve.
“That he becomes the first British Asian to become Prime Minister is a really significant moment. It certainly makes it a special Diwali.
“As far as politics go, I would suggest one immediate decision he should make and one he definitely shouldn’t.
“He should call a snap general election. And he shouldn’t – mustn’t – trigger another wave of austerity. Our public services won’t resist this.
“For Scotland, of course, he becomes another prime minister that we haven’t done and, no doubt, we wouldn’t vote even if we had the chance.
“To escape the damage of mandateless Westminster governments here, and to take our future into our own hands, Scotland needs independence.”
The prime minister originally said Mr Sunak was the first prime minister from an ethnic minority, but Benjamin Disraeli, who was prime minister in the 19th century, was Jewish.
Ms Sturgeon edited her original tweet.
Douglas Ross – who has never publicly announced who he is supporting in the competition – said he was looking forward to working with Mr Sunak “for the good of Scotland and the whole of the UK”.
In his statement, Mr Ross said Mr Sunak had “a proven track record in managing the nation’s finances” and could “provide economic stability and reassure markets”.
“The past few weeks have been difficult and troubling for the Conservative Party and, more importantly, for the country,” he added. “Now our whole focus must be on bringing the nation together and navigating the difficult economic conditions we face.
“As he has shown during his time as Chancellor, including safeguarding one in three Scottish jobs during the pandemic through the furlough scheme, Rishi Sunak is uniquely equipped for the task.”
Congratulation to @RishiSunak become leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister.
I look forward to working with him for the good of Scotland and the whole of the UK. pic.twitter.com/4HFY28s3ow
— Douglas Ross MP MSP (@Douglas4Moray) October 24, 2022
Angela Rayner, Deputy Leader of the Labor Party disagreed. She said Mr Sunak was crowned ‘without him saying a single word about how he would run the country and without anyone having a chance to vote’.
She added: ‘This is the same Rishi Sunak who as Chancellor failed to grow the economy, failed to control inflation and failed to help families deal with the Conservatives’ cost of living crisis.
“And this is the same Rishi Sunak whose family avoided paying taxes in this country before he imposed taxes on everyone else.
“With his record – and after Liz Truss handily beat him this summer – it’s no wonder he’s ducking scrutiny.
“Rishi Sunak has no mandate and no idea what workers need. We need a general election to give the public a say in Britain’s future.
Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said Mr Sunak’s appointment will be ‘music to the ears of his super-rich friends, but, for millions of people in Scotland and beyond, it will be devastating’ .
“The Tories entered a time machine and exited in 2010. The last thing we need is another multi-millionaire Tory Prime Minister looking the other way while millions suffer and attack the services we all rely on.
“In 2014, we were told that a no vote was the only way to ensure our economic stability. Since then we have had four prime ministers, each one even worse than the last. Rishi Sunak will be the fifth,” he added.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said he would work with Labor to try to force a general election: ‘The Conservatives cannot be allowed to impose a third prime minister without a general election – voters must have their say and the SNP is determined to make sure they do.
“The Conservative government had no mandate to wreck the UK economy with its dire budget. And it has no mandate to install another leader who will impose devastating austerity cuts – making households pay through the teeth for the conservative mistakes.
“No one voted for this. The only reason the Tories fear democracy is because they fear the verdict of the people. There is no better indication than the poll in Scotland, which shows that voting for the SNP could completely wipe out the Tories.”
Mr Blackford said his party would “continue to exert maximum pressure on Tory MPs to hold an election. And I have written to Keir Starmer making it clear to him that SNP MPs will support a vote of no confidence in the Conservative government if he delivers one this week.
Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar has said it’s time to end the “Tory carousel of chaos”.
“The Tories have turned Britain into an international punchline – and they’ve treated you with contempt.
“Rishi Sunak has no mandate to lead the country. It is time we held general elections and swept this immoral government from power.”
Alex Cole-Hamilton, the leader of the Lib Dems, said: ‘Rishi Sunak has consistently shown that he has no idea how ordinary people live. Liz Truss, Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are all birds of a feather. We will continue to have chaos until there is a general election.
“The public has lost faith in the Conservative Party. The Scottish Liberal Democrats are ready to play their part in sweeping out-of-touch Tory MPs. »