SNP Group leader slams council‘s “partisan view” over First Minister event

SNP Group leader David Stocks
SNP Group leader David Stocks

The SNP Group leader at North Lanarkshire Council has slammed a ban on pupils meeting First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday (Monday).

Education chiefs were invited to send two pupils from every secondary school, who are due to vote in the Scottish Parliament elections for the first time, to an “Ask The First Minister” event in Edinburgh.

However, the council’s Education Convener Frank McNally accused the First Minister of using public money to hold an “SNP rally” just two days before the Parliament dissolves prior to May’s election and North Lanarkshire refused to participate.

Councillor David Stocks was outraged the pupils were denied the opportunity.

He said: “Progressive educational thinkers normally jump at the chance to give experience opportunities to young people.

“This is the essence of the Curriculum for Excellence. Two young adults in North Lanarkshire have been denied this chance through a narrow-minded education convener.

“So much for the “fresh start” claims of the recently re-vamped North Lanarkshire Labour Group.

“The ‘Ask the First Minister’ event is not party-political. The aim by the Scottish Government is to interest the new 16-plus voters in the Scottish Government election and to encourage a high turnout from this age-group.

“The obvious time to raise civic awareness is immediately prior to the election campaign kick-off.

“Councillor McNally’s partisan view that this was a political rally is very sad. This was no “rally”, the clue is in the title:’Ask the First Minister’.

“Our North Lanarkshire senior students are well able to ask on some really demanding topics and the Education Convener should show more belief in young people.

“The Labour Education Convener is pictured week-in,week-out with pupils in the local press. The SNP Group have never complained that this is political; we view it as an educational experience.”