Scottish Government pledge to double free childcare ‘at risk’ as private nurseries face ‘crisis’

Nicola Sturgeon’s flagship policy of doubling “free” childcare for three and four-year-olds has been dealt a major blow after a “bombshell” report found fewer than one in three private nurseries are likely to offer the extra hours.  The National Day Nurseries Association said the sector was at crisis point due to a lack of funding…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe encourages a ‘leap into the unknown’

If it involves a Nicola Sturgeon drag act, Trump the Musical and the Russian art collective Pussy Riot, it can only be the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This year’s event features 3,500 shows, covering theatre, dances, circus, comedy, music and, as usual, the absurd and outrageous. The performers include the actress Su Pollard, once of Hi-de-Hi!…

Baby was decapitated by doctor’s actions, tribunal rules

A gynaecologist who caused an unborn baby to be accidentally decapitated in her mother’s womb has been found guilty of medical misconduct. Dr Vaishnavy Laxman, 43, should have given the 30-year old patient an emergency caesarean section as the premature infant was in a breech position, but instead tried to carry out a natural delivery….

Scottish court told Brexit could be unilaterally halted

A judge has been told there is an alternative to Theresa May’s “deal or no deal” approach to leaving the EU which could see Brexit unilaterally halted. Aidan O’Neill QC, representing a group of pro-Remain politicians, raised the prospect at Scotland’s highest civil court of MPs instructing the UK Government to withdraw its Article 50…

Scottish Government accused of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ approach to fracking

The petrochemical giant that runs Scotland’s biggest industrial complex has accused the Scottish Government of taking an “Alice in Wonderland” approach to fracking that is harming jobs and investment. Nicola Sturgeon and Paul Wheelhouse, her Energy Minister, last year described the decision to extend indefinitely a moratorium on the controversial practice as a “ban”. But the…

Nicola Sturgeon asked if she misled Scottish Parliament on fracking ‘ban’

The Scottish Government’s claim in court that it had not banned fracking has been described as «beyond humiliating» as two petrochemical companies argued that ministers did establish an “unlawful” ban. A lawyer for Ineos, which runs the giant Grangemouth refinery complex, said that ministers had created a policy through public statements that would prevent a fracking…

Scottish Government tells court there is no ban on fracking

The Scottish Government has been urged to explain its position on fracking after telling a judge that there is no ban in place, and ministers still have to make up their minds. James Mure QC, for the government, told the Court of Session that a legal bid by the petrochemical giant Ineos to overturn the “ban”…

Scottish sporting estates market undented by concerns over Brexit

Brexit has had no negative effect on wealthy individuals wanting to buy Scottish estates, and may even have increased interest from abroad because of favourable exchange rates, according to a leading property consultant. A desire for private deals is said to have triumphed over any uncertainty caused by politics and the economy in 2017. The latest…

Nicola Sturgeon accused of scaremongering over Brexit powers deal

Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of “scaremongering” after she claimed UK Government proposals to resolve the dispute over post-Brexit powers would “completely demolish” the principle of the devolution settlement. The Scottish Conservatives said it was “sad” to see the First Minister reduced to such tactics and accused her of “taking the reins” from Michael Russell, her…

Grieving mother warns of soft toy danger in cots

A mother whose baby daughter suffocated in her sleep under a large teddy bear has launched a campaign to prevent the same thing happening to another child. Dexy Leigh Walsh’s 18-month-old daughter Connie Rose died in her sleep in the room she shared with her five-year-old sister at the family home in Dundee. Ms Walsh…

Scotland’s record-breaking Commonwealth Games stars return home

Scotland’s record breaking Commonwealth Games team has flown in from Australia to a hero’s welcome. Friends, relatives and members of the public gathered to greet the athletes as they were piped into the arrival area at Glasgow Airport. Scotland’s haul of 44 medals was by far their best result at an overseas Games, and not far behind…

Lawyers for former Catalan minister Carla Ponsati accuse Spain of ‘abusing’ extradition laws

The former Catalan minister Carla Ponsati will fight her extradition to Spain on the basis that the Spanish authorities are abusing international law to pursue a “politically motivated prosecution”. Her lawyer Aamer Anwar said following a court hearing in Edinburgh that the European arrest warrant issued for his client was a “grotesque distortion of the…

Scotland’s health minister urged to consider her position over handling of crisis-hit NHS board

Scotland’s Health Minister is under mounting pressure over her handling of the scandal engulfing a cash-strapped health board which used public donations to fund services. Shona Robison intervened to take control of NHS Tayside on Thursday, placing the board in “special measures” and telling the chairman to step down. Prof John Connell announced on Friday…

Scottish economy performed half as well as UK last year

New figures have revealed that Scotland’s economy performed only half as well as the rest of the UK last year, amid warnings that tax hikes taking effect from Friday risk damaging to economic growth. The latest Scottish Government statistics show that GDP grew by 0.3 per cent in the last three months of 2017. Annual growth for Scotland was…

Nicola Sturgeon condemns ‘unacceptable’ mountain hare culls

Nicola Sturgeon has condemned the large scale culling of mountain hares and warned that legislation is being considered to protect the “iconic” species. The First Minister said major culls were “unacceptable” following the release of footage filmed in secret on Scottish grouse moors. Animal rights groups claim the recordings show “military style” mass slaughter on…

Scottish wildcat nicknamed the ‘beast’ may be largest ever seen

An «enormous» wildcat that could be the largest specimen recorded anywhere in the world has been caught on camera in Aberdeenshire. It was recorded by a camera trap in Clashindarroch Forest and is estimated to measure 4ft from nose to tail, making it around one foot larger than an average Scottish wildcat. The footage was caught as part…

Firefighters tackling ‘massive’ blaze in one of Glasgow’s busiest shopping streets

Firefighters are tackling a «massive blaze» in the centre of Glasgow which is believed to have started in a nightclub in the city’s busy Sauchiehall Street. More than 120 firefighters were attempting to bring the fire under control with local residents being urged to say indoors due to the suspected presence of asbestos. Several buildings have been evacuated and…

Former SNP MP Natalie McGarry in court over embezzlement claims

The former SNP MP Natalie McGarry has appeared in court on embezzlement charges which include an allegation that she failed to transfer charitable donations to a food bank. She is accused of embezzling a total of more than £41,500 while acting as treasurer of the Women for Independence group, and as treasurer, secretary and convenor…

YouTube user convicted of hate crime over pet dog’s ‘Nazi salutes’

A man who filmed his girlfriend’s dog performing “Nazi salutes” and posted the footage on YouTube has been convicted of a hate crime. Mark Meechan, 30, recorded the pug, Buddha, responding to statements including “gas the Jews” and “Sieg Heil» by raising its paw. He was arrested following complaints about the video, which was viewed more…

Former SNP councillor sent racist texts to secret lover

A former aide to a senior SNP MP has been convicted of sending a string of racist text messages to his married lover in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks. Craig Melville, 37, who resigned as an SNP councillor in Dundee and an aide to Stewart Hose over the allegations, sent the messages to…

Ruth Davidson and Michael Gove join forces in call for fisheries control

Ruth Davidson and Michael Gove have joined forces to call for the UK to leave the common fisheries policy when Britain leaves the European Union. The Scottish Conservative leader and the Environment Secretary were on different sides of the EU referendum campaign, but claimed it was «vital» the country regained control of its own waters after…

Drivers facing a freezing night in their vehicles after chaos on snowbound motorway

Hundreds of motorists were facing the prospect of a freezing night trapped in their vehicles after they became stranded on one of Scotland’s busiest motorways. The M80 between Glasgow and Stirling was gridlocked in two separate locations northbound after jack-knifed lorries and accidents caused huge tailbacks. As emergency services struggled to tackle the problem, and with…

Ryanair axes 20 routes and its base at Glasgow Airport 

The budget airline Ryanair has claimed hundreds of jobs are under threat as it blamed the Scottish Government for its decision to close its base at Glasgow Airport. The number of routes operated from the airport will be cut from 23 to three, with five being transferred to Edinburgh. The airline opened a new base…

Nicola Sturgeon reveals she sipped champagne from the Calcutta Cup

Nicola Sturgeon has revealed that she joined the celebrations in the Scotland dressing room after the defeat of England in the Six Nations rugby clash and sipped champagne from the Calcutta Cup. The First Minister was invited to join the players after watching from the stand on Saturday as the Scots won 25-13 to claim the cup for the first…

Scottish 16-year-olds sitting their exams ‘have reading age of only 13’

Many 16-year-old pupils sitting their National exams have the reading ability of a 13-year-old or lower, according to a damning literacy study that prompted intensified criticism of the SNP’s decade-long education record. The literacy and assessment provider Renaissance UK said secondary school pupils in Scotland were not reading challenging enough books and potentially harming their…

Nicola Sturgeon warned against rushing into indyref2

Nicola Sturgeon has been warned by one of her senior MPs against rushing into a second independence referendum. Pete Wishart, the SNP’s longest serving MP and a possible contender in the contest for deputy leadership of the party, said a new vote should only be held when she is “certain of victory”. He urged caution…

Ruth Davidson hails landmine clearance charity on visit to Afghanistan

Ruth Davidson has hailed the “great Scottish success story” of a charity leading the world in landmine clearance during a visit to Afghanistan. The Scottish Conservative leader spent four days in Kabul at the invitation of the HALO Trust, the world’s largest humanitarian mine clearance operation, which was once supported by Diana, Princess of Wales….

Toy tiger sparks armed police stand-off on Scottish farm

Armed police were sent to an Aberdeenshire farm after a farmer checking his livestock thought he spotted a tiger in his cow shed. Bruce Grubb, 24, called the police, fearing the predator would attack his pregnant cows, but became suspicious when it failed to move during a 45-minute stand-off. After driving towards it in his truck…

Scottish Labour accused of wanting to ‘hammer hard workers’ as it proposes 50p top rate of tax 

Labour has been accused of wanting to “hammer hard workers” to raise money for public services after it unveiled an alternative budget based on swingeing tax rises for middle and high earners. It would dramatically lower the income threshold for a 45p tax rate to just over £60,000 — instead of the SNP’s £150,000 — and introduce…

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