Scotland politics

Scottish political leaders issue Christmas messages

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with eight-year-olds from Forthview Primary in Edinburgh
Image caption First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with eight-year-olds from an Edinburgh primary

The first minister has wished Scots a Merry Christmas in a video message filmed with primary school children.

Eight-year-old pupils at Forthview Primary in Edinburgh joined Nicola Sturgeon for the film.

Kezia Dugdale, the leader of Scottish Labour, used her Christmas message to welcome child refugees to Scotland.

Ruth Davidson, of the Scottish Conservatives, said she hopes Scots remember those in need this festive season.

Willie Rennie, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, hailed Scotland's response to the darkest moments of 2015, including the war in Syria and the Paris attacks.

"Where there is darkness there is also light," he said.

Ms Sturgeon recorded the video at a children's Christmas party that she hosted at her official residence earlier this month.

The first minister said: "The sound of excited children ringing round Bute House was a wonderful experience and there was no better opportunity to join in with them to wish everyone a very happy Christmas."

The film includes some behind-the-scenes footage during the launch of the first minister's charity Christmas card.

All sales of the cards will go to the four charities - Enable Scotland, Children 1st, Books Abroad and the Scottish Refugee Council.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Kezia Dugdale welcomed refugees in her Christmas message

Ms Dugdale, while welcoming refugees to Scotland, also praised the work of the armed forces and the emergency services.

She said: "From the Irish immigration of past centuries to the arrival of Syrians today, we have opened the doors of our nation to those seeking a better way of life.

"Those travelling halfway across the world need our support. They are ordinary people who don't want to live in fear of constant violence. They are families who just want to get on with their lives. They are children with hopes and dreams of a better way of life. We should welcome them into our communities with open arms.

"Christmas is also a time of year not only to help those in need but also to give thanks to those who do so much for our country. We pay tribute to our armed forces, particularly those involved in conflict right now. No matter our view of the decisions of government leaders, no one can doubt the bravery of those who serve our country.

"Those who work in our emergency services will also keep our hospitals open and streets safe in the next few weeks. They quietly go about their business all year round without much fuss. Now is the time of year to show our appreciation."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ruth Davidson urged people to think about those in need

Ms Davidson, in her Christmas address, said the festive season can be a "cruel" time for some.

She said: "As we approach this time for celebration, many of us will be excited about giving and receiving presents, linking up with loved ones we haven't seen in too long, and probably eating and drinking more than is good for us.

"It's undoubtedly a special time of year, and one we rightly treasure.

"But for many others Christmas can also be cruel. Thousands across Scotland and the UK face difficulty on a daily basis.

"And if you're lonely, worried about your job, your marriage or relationship is in difficulty or you are suffering from bereavement, far from being the best time of year, Christmas can be the hardest.

"I hope everyone can find time to enjoy themselves, but also to make those precious couple of phone calls or visits to those who - at this time of year more than ever - need to hear a friendly voice or see a familiar face."

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