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SNP leadership candidates quizzed on the Stone of Destiny

(Photo by Jane Barlow-Pool/Getty Images)

Today was the penultimate party hustings of the SNP leadership contest, this time with Glasgow party members quizzing the leadership contenders. Did they want to know about what the next leader of the SNP thinks about the constitution perhaps, or the race to save Scotland’s NHS? Not quite. Instead, it appears what really matters to the SNP membership is, erm, the Stone of Destiny, ITV Borders and, naturally, berating England.

One member asked at the hustings:

‘We thought we were entitled to a referendum; Westminster said no. We passed the gender recognition [reform bill], ‘no’. Now coming up is a coronation. Do they want our stone? Oh yes. Will they ask us? No, they’ll just take it. If they want it, they’ll have to ask. Our answer will be what?’

This is about principle, Humza Yousaf agreed vehemently, drawing in the gender bill in case anyone was confused about the significance of a Scottish stone. Kate Forbes swithered and avoided giving a straight answer, which the questioner was not happy about – host Michael Russell had to step in to break up the back and forth between the pair. Ash Regan stayed true to form and offered up her left-field solution: why not ask the UK government – and indeed the monarchy – if part of the coronation can be held in Scotland? She’d barely finished the question before members of the audience started booing. Wrong answer, Ash!

The Gary Lineker-BBC drama hasn’t escaped the attention of even the most focused SNP activists, and they’re no more happy about the corporation than he is. As one member asked:

‘Do any of the candidates have any idea how we can place broadcasting under the remit of the Scottish parliament so that we could replace the BBC with a Scottish broadcasting corporation — but do this before we are independent?’

‘[People in Dumfries] aren’t even receiving the content from STV!’ Ash Regan cried in response.

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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