Scotland politics

New year messages: Scots wish to remain 'must be respected'

Scotland's party leaders have issued their new year messages.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was determined Scotland's vote to remain in the European Union would be respected.

Ruth Davidson, of the Scottish Conservatives, said 2016 felt as if the world had "shifted a little on its axis"

Labour's Kezia Dugdale said Scotland remaining part of the UK was more important than being part of the EU.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said it was time to put the "politics of division" behind us.


NICOLA STURGEON, FIRST MINISTER

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As she reflected on the past year and looked ahead to 2017 in her new year message, Nicola Sturgeon said she was determined Scotland's vote to remain within the European Union would be respected.

The first minister said: "We are working to safeguard the opportunities that so many people in Scotland now take for granted.

"We are determined that Scotland's vote to remain in the European Union will be respected - and that people in Scotland retain as many of the benefits of EU membership as possible, including the freedom to work, travel and study in other member states.

"New year is inevitably a time when we look to the future. I'm determined to ensure that we give our children and young people - Scotland's future - the support and care they need to live happy, healthy, fulfilling lives.

"I'm confident that in 2017, we will make further progress towards that goal. That's something which is well worth looking forward to.

"So, wherever you are - whether you're here in Scotland or further afield; whether you're at work, spending time on your own or with your friends or family - I hope you have a wonderful Hogmanay and a great new year. I wish all of you all the best for 2017."


RUTH DAVIDSON, SCOTTISH CONSERVATIVE LEADER

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The Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson described 2016 as a time when the "world felt that it shifted a little on its axis", adding that she hoped 2017 would bring "more stability and moderation".

She said: "People don't expect governments to do everything for them. But they do expect them to make life a little easier.

"Here in Scotland, that means we need to focus not on creating further division and instability; but on improving services and supporting business to get our economy moving again - to help families who are struggling to get by."

"My commitment for this coming year is to do everything I can to make sure that happens.

"To all of you here at home, and to Scots right across the world celebrating this evening - all the very best for the coming year."


KEZIA DUGDALE, SCOTTISH LABOUR LEADER

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Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said the new year was a time for reflection but also for hope and optimism.

"In 2017 we can lay the foundations of Scotland's future economic success," she said.

"Being part of the UK is even more important to Scotland than staying in the EU and Labour will campaign with everything we have to protect that relationship across our isles.

"Remaining in the UK is good for jobs, it's good for our economy and it's good for our public services. Labour will never support the SNP's attempt to force another referendum on the people of Scotland."


WILLIE RENNIE, SCOTTISH LIBERAL DEMOCRAT LEADER

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Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said his party was emerging from recent electoral struggles and were starting to win again and were determined to see a referendum on any future Brexit deal.

He added: "My colleagues and I will make the powerful case for a Brexit Deal Referendum on the terms of the deal.

"It would only be right for voters to have the final say rather than just signing a blank cheque for the prime minister to agree any deal she likes no matter what the consequences.

"Liberal Democrats will also oppose Scottish independence. Scotland's place is with our partners in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We need to put the politics of division behind us and focus on making Scotland a better country to live in."

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