DOUGLAS Ross has accepted Nicola Sturgeon’s challenge to visit a working class community together after she threw down the gauntlet in a media interview.

The Scottish Tory leader said the First Minister only had to “name the time and place” and accused her of “abandoning” the kind of community she grew up in. 

It followed Mr Ross using his speech at the UK Tory conference in Manchester to claim that SNP had become “detached from working class communities”.

He said on Sunday that his party were now “the party of working Scotland”.

Speaking to LBC News in Glasgow today, Ms Sturgeon denied being out of touch with working class voters and accused the Tories of punishing those same people through the “morally indefensible” end to the £20-a-week uplift in Universal Credit.

She said: “The shame of these Tories. They are about to take food out of the mouths of children across working class communities the length and breadth of Scotland, including in Douglas Ross’s own constituency, and they have the nerve to make communities like this.

“Maybe Douglas Ross would like to come with me, and I’ll introduce him to some working  class communities across the country, and then he will see who’s in touch with them and who is horribly out of touch with them. 

“Because the Tories, like him, are doing them so much damage every day right now.”

Mr Ross, the MP for Moray as well as a Highands list MSP, then took her up on it.

He said: “Name the time and place. 

“I’ll go with Nicola Sturgeon to one of the working class communities devastated by the drug death crisis that has spiralled out of control on her watch.

“We could start with her own constituency [Glasgow Southside], where she let a rehab centre close in 2019. 

“Nicola Sturgeon took her eye off the ball on the national shame of drug deaths and abandoned working class communities. 

“Thousands of families lost loved ones because the SNP slashed rehab beds, which the Scottish Conservatives campaigned successfully to restore.

“But the SNP Government has failed so catastrophically that bolder action is necessary. 

“Our Right to Recovery Bill is backed by experts and people on the frontline in our communities. Let’s hear Nicola Sturgeon explain why she won’t back it to working people who keep losing friends and family to drugs.

“I’m proud of my working class background and I’d never abandon the communities I grew up in the way that Nicola Sturgeon is doing. 

“The Scottish Conservatives are building the real alternative to the SNP for working people across Scotland, who are appalled by the tragic loss of life to drugs in our communities.”



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