Nicola Sturgeon has been called arrogant for setting her sights on remaining as the SNP leader
The First Minister will use her keynote SNP conference today to insist she is “proud” of her party’s achievements in office – despite repeated criticism of its stewardship of the NHS and plummeting school standards.
She will claim to “have led the way” since the Nationalists were swept to power in 2007 and is expected to say: “Our focus now is on the next 10 years and beyond.”
It follows the loss of 21 MPs in June’s snap general election and her Holyrood majority last year amid a backlash over demands for another independence referendum.
Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw said: “The SNP is on a slippery slope, and it’s unlikely the electorate will grant her another decade.
“Her presumption that she’ll be in power for 10 years is breathtaking arrogance and the voters will see it that way too.”
Ms Sturgeon will also seek to address her stalled plans for a vote on separation declaring “Scotland does better when decisions are taken here”.
Her speech to the party faithful in Glasgow comes after she risked reopening SNP splits over Europe by edging closer to demanding a second Brexit referendum.
Today she claimed another poll may become “irresistible” if EU divorce talks result in no deal.
She insisted that leaving the bloc was a “developing disaster”, with the UK “engulfed in chaos.”
Lib Dem’s have led calls for a second referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal, and SNP ministers have agreed to meet them to discuss the demand.
Ms Sturgeon said another vote was not yet SNP policy but “may actually become difficult to resist.”
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme she said: “I’m not there right now.
“Part of the reason I’m not there is because we don’t know what the outcome is going to be yet.
“But if we end up in a position where the UK crashes out of the EU with no deal at all, the consequences of that are so dire that I think the argument at that stage maybe irresistible that people should have the right to look at the outcome.”
Nicola will use her keynote SNP conference to insist she is ‘proud’ of her party’s achievements
The SNP is on a slippery slope, and it’s unlikely the electorate will grant her another decade
Polls suggest around a third of SNP voters backed Brexit in last June’s referendum.
In November ex-SNP Cabinet member Alex Neil revealed he voted Leave – and claimed “a number” of other Nationalist MSPs did the same.
Former SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars also claimed up to six of the party’s MSPs planned to vote Leave.
In a separate interview with STV Ms Sturgeon insisted still has a mandate to hold a second independence referendum before the next Holyrood elections in 2021.
She was forced to “reset” her original timetable of between autumn next year and spring 2019 in the wake of her balllot box mauling but has repeatedly resisted opposition demands to rule one out within the next four years.
Jackson Carlaw said it’s unlikely the electorate will grant Nicola another decade as leader
Ms Sturgeon is today expected argue “radical” policies are needed in a rapidly changing world and with Brexit looming.
Ms Sturgeon is expected to say: “That world around us is being shaped by events that no country on its own can hope to completely control.
“But we face the added uncertainty of a UK now being driven down the most uncertain path in modern times.
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“We know that Scotland does better when decisions are taken here in Scotland.
“So as we look ahead we face a choice: We can trail in the wake of the change that is coming – or we can choose to shape our own future.
“Let’s resolve this today: Let’s not wait for others to decide for us.
“Let’s put Scotland in the driving seat.”
Scottish Labour MSP James Kelly said: “The voters sent Nicola Sturgeon a message loud and clear in the general election – when the SNP lost almost half its MPs – that they do not want another divisive independence referendum.
Ms Sturgeon is today expected argue “radical” policies are needed in a rapidly changing world
“It is time the First Minister listened to that message and ruled out another divisive referendum for the duration of this parliament.”
Meanwhile, speaking at a fringe event Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart ramped up the rhetoric over Indyref2.
He said: “We will be having another independence referendum, not because we want it, but because the Scottish nation will be crying out for it as they start to experience the horrors of Brexit.
“They will be coming to the SNP saying ‘for goodness sake get us out of this mess’.”