BBC Scotland leaders debate: Sarah Smith shuts down Sturgeon and Ross in tense row | Politics | News

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The BBC Scottish leaders debate erupted in chaos as Tory leader Douglas Ross and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon shouted at each other. BBC’s Scotland editor Sarah Smith was forced to step in and interrupt the rowing pair, telling them: “Nobody can hear you!” The clash erupted over council tax, as Mr Ross slammed Ms Sturgeon for breaking her promise to scrap the tax.

Mr Ross issued a scathing attack on Ms Sturgeon, saying: “I don’t want to work with a party that will separate our country, that will divide families and communities all over again.

“This is the risk for the next five years, that we are dominated by this constitutional politics.

“Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that she wants a referendum in the next two years when are still dealing with this health pandemic.

“Can I also just say, every time Nicola Sturgeon has been elected she has promised to reform council tax and yet people are still paying it!”

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This remark sparked a furious row between the pair, with Ms Sturgeon repeatedly insisting that the SNP has “frozen council taxes”.

Mr Ross pointed out that the SNP have had a majority government for the past five years.

The BBC host intervened as the row erupted: “No, no!

“Let’s take the heat out of this for now. We are going to move on.

Even the Lib Dems jumped on the fracas, as their official account tweeted: “The SNP promised to scrap Council Tax during this Parliament.

“How many of you just received a council tax bill?”

The SNP has come under intense pressure over recent weeks, with Ms Sturgeon’s political rivals demanding she resign after she was found to have “misled” the Scottish parliament over her knowledge of harassment complaints against former First Minister Alex Salmond.

A future debate will take place towards the end of the election campaign.

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