Sturgeon sets sight on General Election victory

New leader Nicola Sturgeon after being voted in at the SNP annual conference at Perth Concert Hall
New leader Nicola Sturgeon after being voted in at the SNP annual conference at Perth Concert Hall
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New Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon has set a target of winning the General Election in Scotland next year.

She told the SNP annual conference in Perth she was “overwhelmed by a feeling of privilege and responsibility” but also said she had a “sense of real excitement about the opportunities to come”.

She said: “This is a good time for our party and this is a good time for our country. I’m ready to lead this party and this country to even better times ahead.”

She stated: “To become the leader of the party I joined as a teenager is the biggest privilege of my life.

“It is an emotional moment, and one that I cherish and one that I relish.”

She pledged under her leadership the SNP would “continue each and every day to govern this country to the best of our ability” and would “keep making the case for Scotland being an independent country”.

But in the meantime she said her party would also seek to hold Westminster leaders to account for the vow they made of substantial new powers for Holyrood in the run up to the referendum.

Outgoing leader Alex Salmond, who announced that he would be resigning as both SNP leader and First Minister in the wake of the Scottish independence referendum, told the conference that Scotland “changed utterly” as a result of that vote.

He hailed Ms Sturgeon as a “woman of extraordinary talent” as he told his successor: “Nicola, your contribution to where this party now stands has already been immense.

“Your future contribution – I have no doubt – will be to make history.”

He told the conference the “dream” of independence was “alive and well and will succeed”.

In the referendum Scotland had risen to “the challenge of change”, Mr Salmond said.

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