Nicola Sturgeon starts SNP conference with a rare car crash interview
WATCH: SNP leader skewered by Channel 4 reporter over set up costs of an independent Scotland
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made a rare media blunder today when a Channel 4 interview went wrong.
Scotland correspondent Ciaran Jenkins asked her about the set up costs for an independent Scotland. But Sturgeon struggled to answer despite a key recent SNP document proposing a precise price. She was eventually reduced to saying, "I don't have all these figures right at the tip of my fingers right now."
Two weeks ago the SNP launched their Growth Commission report which set out a vision for the economy in a separate Scotland. That document suggested the price tag for creating a whole suite of new ministries would be around £450million. In the interview Sturgeon repeatedly claimed the party had yet to analyse all the figures in the Growth Commission reoort but insisted they were worthy of respect because they'd been conjured by London School of Economics academic Patrick Dunleavy. However Jenkins pointed out that the cost of setting up a separate Scottish department for social security to cope with new devolved powers over benefits has already hit £200million and an IT system to cope with farming payments had cost £178million casting doubt on the £450million figure for an entire set of government departments.
In the same interview Sturgeon said she'd be supporting Iceland in the forthcoming World Cup. But she insisted this was because she'd randomly drawn them in an office sweepstake and not because they embarrassed England by dumping them out of the 2016 European championships in the second round. She claimed she wished England well when the tournament kicks off next week.
Sturgeon will make her keynote address to the SNP's spring conference in Aberdeen on Saturday afternoon with many in the party keen to kickstart a new drive for independence before the Brexit process concludes. On Friday the party named veteran MSP Keith Brown as her new deputy.